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what is the difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds

The difference between feminized and autoflowering seeds

Growing weed doesn’t have to be difficult. Anyone can do it. But you do need some basic knowledge. For example, you need to know how to grow a cannabis plant and which seeds are most suitable for you. The most popular seeds among beginners and advanced growers are feminized cannabis seeds and autoflower seeds. But what is the difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds? And which seeds are right for you?

Choosing between: feminized vs autoflowering

Cannabis seeds come in a huge variety of varieties and grow into beautiful plants where the weed differs in taste and effect. However, apart from the harvest result, there are also big differences in the way of growing and yield. For example, you have fast growers that need little attention (autoflowers) and cannabis seeds that require more time and knowledge (feminized seeds). On the other hand, the latter delivers a higher yield. But what are the differences exactly and are there other differences?

Difference between feminized and autoflower seeds

To make it easy for you, we have included the differences between the two species in a table. This gives you a clear overview and allows you to make the right choice between feminized seeds and autoflower seeds.


Autoflower seeds

Feminized seeds

Small to medium

2 – 4 weeks after planting

When a light cycle of 12 / 12 is applied

Average time from seed to harvest

Medium to large

Small to medium

Medium to large

Feminized seeds

Feminized cannabis seeds are seeds specially grown to eliminate male chromosomes. In short, with feminized seeds you grow a female cannabis plant. Exactly what most growers want, because only the female cannabis plant provides smokable buds (weed!).

Taking light into account

When growing cannabis outdoors, the plant will start flowering as soon as it gets less sunlight. This is towards the end of summer and the transition to autumn. Indoor growers will have to mimic autumn by (gradually) adapting their light schedule to a 12/12 hour light schedule.

Although adjusting the light schedule is not complicated, it does require some knowledge and effort.

Advantages of feminized seeds

  • Feminized seeds develop female plants and produce smokable buds (cannabis).
  • Plants from feminized seeds produce weed with a higher THC and CBD value which makes the effect more intense and lasts longer compared to autoflowering seeds.
  • Feminized seeds are almost 100% hermaphroditic free.
  • Female plants grown with feminized seeds develop higher yields compared to autoflower plants.
  • Plants grown from feminized seeds produce fewer leaves compared to autoflowers.
  • Unlike autoflowers, female plants grown with feminized seeds are easier to prune.

Find your seeds:

Category: Feminized seeds

Autoflower seeds

Beginners often choose autoflower seeds. The most important reason for this is, as the name suggests, that these plants grow automatically without too much attention. Despite the fact that autoflower seeds have many of the same characteristics as feminized seeds, there are clear differences.

No light scheme needed

Where feminized seeds start flowering as soon as they receive less sunlight (or artificial light), an autoflower flowers based on age. The grower does not have to adjust the light schedule or wait until autumn (applies to outdoor growing). Growing an autoflower is therefore much easier than growing a cannabis plant from feminized seeds.

Advantages of autoflowering seeds

  • Autoflowers bloom automatically and require little attention;
  • Just like feminized seeds, autoflower seeds develop female plants and deliver cannabis;
  • The cycle from seed to harvest is short, allowing growers to harvest 2 to 4 times a year;
  • Because autoflower strains are crossed with the ruderalis plant, the plant grows less tall and requires less maintenance;
  • You need less growing space;
  • Compared to female marijuana plants plants grown with feminized seeds, autoflowers are more resistant to temperature fluctuations, pests and fungi.

Find your seeds:

Category: Feminized seeds

What’s better: feminized or autoflower seeds?

As you have read, both feminized seeds and autoflower seeds have their own advantages and disadvantages. Advanced and experienced growers choose feminized seeds more often because of their higher yield and quality.

Moreover, weed plants from feminized seeds are more flexible in growing. You can use cultivation techniques such as scrogging (Screen of Green) and topping. These techniques ensure a higher yield.

Beginners prefer autoflower seeds because it is easier and the seeds are less sensitive to external conditions (fungi, temperature fluctuations). After all, the plants grow by themselves so you hardly have to worry. Moreover, you can harvest faster and more often.

Are autoflowers less potent?

If you look at the difference in potency between the autoflower variant and the feminized variant of specific marijuana strains, you will notice that the autoflower is almost always less potent. If you compare an autoflower strain with a feminized variant of a different strain, the autoflower is certainly not always less strong.

Many new growers wonder: What is the difference between feminized and autoflowering seeds? Let’s explain it in a simple way. Check it out!

Autoflower VS Feminized Seed: Which Seed is Better to Grow?

Rocket Seeds

Nov 14, 2019 · 6 min read

Marijuana has been used by humans since prehistory as a medicine for different ailments. During those times, marijuana is naturally found in their surroundings but modern technology allowed us to breed marijuana and effectively affect its gender or its growth cycle for better yields and potency.

Two of such modern advances in marijuana cultivation is the development of the autoflower plants and the feminized seeds. Let us have a look at the difference between each type and make a comparison.

Autoflower Seeds

Autoflowering mariju a na plants are plants that automatically switch from the vegetative state to the flowering state automatically with age. This is different from the other species which are dependent on the photoperiod or the length of time that they are exposed to light. Photoperiodism is the physiological reaction of organisms including plants to the length of night and day.

This is the reason why outdoor growers choose a particular month to plant a particular marijuana type while this is never a problem with indoor growers who will simply turn the light on and off when needed.

The development of auto-flowering marijuana is a natural adaptation of some of the marijuana species which were cultivated in areas that have less sunlight such as the northern hemisphere. The cannabis ruderalis is a strain that is known to have this characteristic. Breeders were eventually able to breed the Ruderalis with the Indica and Sativa varieties in order to get a plant that has higher THC or CBD content. Below are the advantages of autoflower seeds.

Quicker Harvest

Autoflowering strains grow faster than regular strains. This is due to the Ruderalis genes that are on auto-flowering plants. Some are even reported to be ready for harvest in seven weeks. This could mean a few harvests in one season of planting regular plants. This is also an advantage for outdoor growers in cold climates where the summer days are short and cold that only last about two months, just enough time between the seed stage to the flowering stage.

Smaller Plants

Smaller plants mean that you could have more plant in your limited indoor or greenhouse growing space. Being short is makes stealth growing possible where a grower may try and grow a single out of sight of the law where marijuana is illegal.

No Photoperiod Change Required

Outdoor growers would be the people to benefit more from this ability of the auto-flowering plant as they could be planted even off-season compared to other regular plants. As mentioned already, photoperiodism is what makes regular cannabis plant change from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage, and the available length of daylight sun changes between the changes in season. But since auto-flowering plants change as they age without dependence of photoperiodism, a grower may choose to plant in some other convenient time for him or her.

Feminized Seeds

Feminized plants came from feminized seeds which are produced by inducing gender change in a female plant. This gender change is induced by putting the plants into stress that makes it release ethylene. This ethylene release is then suppressed which triggers the female plant to develop pollen sac which contains pollen that has 100 percent female traits that will result in 100 percent female seeds that will grow into female plants. Feminized seeds have the following advantages.

Cultivation Efficiency

Cultivators know that it is most productive to have more female plants in a cannabis greenhouse because a single male plant could pollinate dozens of female plants in any given time. Upon finding out that their seeds matured into male plants, most cultivators end up frustrated in removing all the male plants which may account into sometimes more than half of their total crops.

Your cultivation may have little space, to begin with, due to budget constraints. You may have opted to have a smaller space because you could not afford to temperature control any larger area. Having male plants unknowingly since they have not matured yet take up space that you could have used when you were sure from the beginning that your plants were female.

Less wasted capital

We have mentioned stress, time and space being spent or even wasted by not knowing that your crops were male and you were totally clueless. This is wasted capital. Imagine all the electricity spent every day those male plants were watered and air-conditioned. Imagine all that money that you spent on half your crop that you’re about to throw away because that half turned out to be male. That’s a lot of money you could have spent somewhere else.

Work-related stress is one of the banes of any endeavor including marijuana cultivation. Since it is impossible to tell whether a seed is male or female, feminized seeds simplify the process of ensuring an all-female crop. This simplifies the process by removing the guesswork in your cultivation.

By using feminized marijuana seeds, you are spared the anxiety of waiting for your seeds to mature only to find out the more than half of your crop is male.

Sex determination is impossible simply by looking at the seeds. Usually, it is revealed only in the when the plant is between the transition from vegetative to flowering states, when the pre-flowers start to form. These tiny undergrowths develop into the reproductive organs of the plant. By using a magnifying glass, you’d see the male pre-flowers look like balls while the females form calyxes that are pear-shaped.

Knowing them will help you identify the male plants and you can remove the males immediately but it is surely most helpful when you don’t have to remove any plant at all by knowing that they are all females.

No matter how careful you are in inspecting your crop, a male plant or even a hermaphrodite may find its way in the midst of your crop accidentally pollinating the female plants which will greatly reduce their production of the bud that contains THC. Only the unfertilized flowers contain the most THC in a marijuana plant. Male and hermaphrodite plants do not produce buds.

When unchecked, a male pollen sac may burst fully and it will pollinate not one, but all of your female plants. When the bud become flowers after pollination, this flower becomes unusable for recreational use or medicinal purposes because it will eventually produce seeds. Seeds are of no use except to use for your next batch of crops.

Higher THC and CBD

Feminization is the method to ensure that marijuana seeds are guaranteed to be female which is the sex of the plant that produces bud which naturally contains more Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is only found in the female buds. THC is an active ingredient and was approved as a botanical drug in the United Kingdom in 2010 as a mouth spray for people with multiple sclerosis to alleviate neuropathic pain, spasticity, overactive bladder, and other symptoms. Nabiximols (as Sativex) another drug derived from marijuana is available as a prescription drug in Canada.

Cannabidiol (CBD), another chemical found in the marijuana bud is now being used as an alternative medicine for the alleviation of symptoms of epilepsy and is the subject of clinical researches as a cure for anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain.


When you find one specific plant that has the right traits that you like, you make sure that these characteristics get passed on to future plants. Mother plants are female plants that you clone and so it produces plants with the same characteristics that it has. By having feminized plants, you have a chance to look for a plant that you like to do cross-breeding with to develop new strains with good female genetics. Autoflowering plants cannot be cloned.

Not only do female plants produce the healing buds for recreation and medicinal use, but they also produce seeds of the generation of plants once pollinated. If you happen to have a cannabis strain that you really liked to grow and is very compatible with your cultivation facilities, these seeds will be very useful in the future.


Judging from the above comparison, feminized seeds seem to have more advantages as changing the light cycle for marijuana plants to enter the flowering stage is a minor discomfort that growers could easily bear. Cloning of a mother plant is also a big advantage for the feminized seeds.

Naturally, we may conclude in favor of feminized seeds.

Marijuana has been used by humans since prehistory as a medicine for different ailments. During those times, marijuana is naturally found in their surroundings but modern technology allowed us to…