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.
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 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
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!
What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
This article is sponsored by Kannabia Seed Company, an award-winning cannabis seed company headquartered in Spain. Using only the highest quality genetics on the market, their grower-oriented approach has made cannabis cultivation simple and satisfying for growers of all skill levels for years.
Anyone who’s ever savored a joint owes their enjoyment to the fruits of the cannabis plant, but moreover, to the female of the species. That’s because only female cannabis plants produce the cannabinoid-rich flowers that deliver the flavors and effects consumers look for.
This is why many North American growers are turning to feminized seeds—cannabis seeds that carry only female genetics, and can be relied on to produce only female plants. By creatively applying technologies to seed feminization, modern breeders like Kannabia can ensure female genetics in seeds with a nearly 100% success rate.
Male vs. Female Cannabis Plants
A bud of Diesel Glue grown from Kannabia’s feminized seeds. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
Cannabis plants that are pollinated naturally or with traditional breeding techniques can produce both male or female seeds. These are known as regular seeds and, as in most species, they occur with about an even split between the two sexes. That means cannabis cultivators starting with standard seeds have about a 50% chance of yielding a female plant from each one.
As a result, growing cannabis from regular seeds isn’t very efficient—it’s akin to running a bakery that has to throw out every second loaf of bread. Growers working from regular seeds have to account for the fact that roughly half of their plants could be males. While those plants are of some value to breeders, folks growing for flower won’t find much to like in them, and too many male plants can spoil a grow.
Traditionally, the solution to this has been an inelegant one, with many cultivators planting at least twice as many seeds as they hope to harvest with the assumption that about half of them will be useless. However big a harvest you’re looking for, using regular seeds means you’ll have to plant twice that many seeds.
Why Grow From Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
Cultivators depend on feminized seeds for efficient growing cycles. (Courtesy of Mr. Sticky Farm)
There are numerous advantages for growers who start their garden using feminized seeds. By removing the guesswork of germinating regular seeds, feminized seeds streamline the growing process, saving space and time.
That efficiency is key for medical cannabis patients and hobby growers. Since most cannabis regulations limit plant counts, growers cultivating a small crop of cannabis for personal use want to ensure they’re getting the most out of their grow.
Male plants don’t just take up space in a garden, either. They can also sap time and resources from growers. When male and female plants are both present, growers need to cultivate both until their sexes are clear. While some strains will show early signs of their sex before flowering begins, most cannabis plants don’t begin to express their sex until they start to mature past the vegetative stage.
This change occurs when the photoperiod, or amount of light and dark that the plant receives, changes to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark. In outdoor gardens this change can happen naturally with the seasons or, in more controlled environments like indoor gardens, by human intervention using light timers.
Once those plants are old enough, growers have to go to the trouble of actually determining their sex, monitoring each individual plant to ensure any males are removed before they can pollinate their female counterparts.
Growers can avoid spending weeks nurturing plants with only a 50% chance of expressing as female and maximize the space and plant count in their gardens by using feminized seeds from suppliers like Kannabia. These specially-treated seeds increase the probability of producing a female plant to 99%.
How Are Cannabis Seeds Feminized?
Treating cannabis seeds with a silver thiosulphate solution can ensure the resulting plants are females. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
There are a few techniques that can produce reliably feminized seeds. One classic method is stressing out a healthy female plant by interrupting its light cycle during flowering. While that works to an extent, the more common and controlled method is to spray down female plants with a collodial silver or silver thiosulphate solution. This method makes it possible to control the sex of a plant without any genetic tinkering or modification.
Both substances are a blend of water and fine silver particles, and they work in largely the same fashion. The silver solution impedes the production of ethylene, a hormone involved in flowering. The result is a female plant, but one that produces male flowers with pollen sacs. Since those pollen sacs develop on a plant with only female genetics, female genetics are all they carry. When those flowers pollinate another female plant (one untreated by silver solutions), the resulting seeds are nearly certain to be female.
Treating plants with a silver thiosulphate solution results in seeds that will produce feminized plants nearly 100% of the time, and Kannabia’s breeders have found this method to be the most effective way to maintain the stability of the seeds and future feminized plants.
Feminized Varieties to Try in Your Garden
Using feminized seeds can make it easier for home growers to cultivate strains like Russian Doll. (Courtesy of Kannabia)
Growing cannabis in your home is legal in an increasing number of states and provinces throughout the United States and Canada. To make starting a home garden easy, growers can start with feminized seeds for many popular strains from providers like Kannabia.
“In our search to find new genetics, Kannabia paired us with their feminized Russian Doll seeds,” say growers at Canada’s BlueSky Organics. “Every seed germinated, and now that we are in the late vegetative stage, these plants have an extremely hardy trunk preparing themselves for some massive buds.”
If you have more questions about strains or seeds, keep digging through Leafly’s resources. And to learn more about the variety of feminized seeds available to you, visit Kannabia’s website to see its full line of feminized genetics, including strains like Diesel Glue and the award-winning Mataro Blue.
Promotions are offered solely by Kannabia Seed Company. Terms and conditions may apply—contact Kannabia for full details.
Feminized marijuana seeds can streamline the growing process and ensure that cannabis cultivators get the most out of their hard work. Read all about the process here.