Difference Between Feminized Seeds And Autoflowering Seeds

By: | Updated: Apr-15, 2022
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What is the difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds? That question is guaranteed to pop up as you enter the world of growing your own.

The modern marijuana market is brimming with strains of all flavors and effects, development styles, and yield sizes. Today, you can tailor the cultivation journey and smoking experience to your exact preferences.

Only if you know what you’re looking for, though.

A rookie can get overwhelmed by the number of available options and unfamiliar terms. How do you narrow down your choice pool and pick the top seeds for your needs?

The variant is a great starting point. The difference between feminized seeds and autoflowering seeds is essential for your purchase decision, setup, and future output.

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Let’s explore feminized and autoflowering cannabis plants, explain how they develop and review what you can expect from them.

Feminized vs. autoflowering seeds

Feminized Seeds And Autoflowering Seeds

Feminized and autoflowering are cannabis seed types found in physical and online seed banks. This duo makes up the majority of contemporary stores’ libraries, taking the spotlight from the good ol’ regular seeds.

What is the difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds? What do these two terms even mean?

Feminized seeds

The term feminized refers to plant sex. Feminized seeds are those that develop into only female plants because they contain no male chromosomes.

Note: Female crops bear smokable colas. Males carry pollen sacs to fertilize ladies and propagate their family line.

Female marijuana seeds are a favorite among at-home and commercial growers. They eliminate the need to destroy half your batch or risk harvest-ruining pollination.

The difference between feminized seeds and autoflowering seeds doesn’t stem from sex, though. In fact, most auto seeds are female. It’s just that people mean the photoperiod seed variant when discussing feminized seeds.

Plants from photoperiod seeds enter flowering when the days shorten in late summer. The light conditions tell the crops that fall is near, pushing them to flower and extend their species. Since no males are around, your ladies produce seedless, sticky buds for smoking purposes.

Another bit of info is necessary to comprehend what the difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds is. You need to learn how non-photoperiod cannabis works.

Autoflower seeds

The term autoflower refers to the flowering pattern. Autoflower seeds develop into crops that bloom automatically after a certain time spent in the vegetative stage.

It’s time to meet ruderalis and its significance for the difference between feminized seeds and autoflowering seeds.

Ruderalis is the third cannabis family. It developed in cold areas of Eastern Europe, evolving for hardiness and a shorter life cycle. It’s also non-photoperiod, blossoming when it hits a certain size, no matter the season.

Ruderalis plants are small and resilient, yielding small, low-THC, low-CBD buds.

Breeders made use of this herb, crossing it with photoperiod strains. Offspring cultivars retain most indica and sativa parent traits while displaying ruderalis growth characteristics.

Non-photoperiod plants are smaller and less potent than their photoperiod counterparts. But they bring fast buds in a manageable package, making them worth your while.

You know these two terms aren’t interchangeable. The way dispensaries discuss them usually is, though. Then, what is the difference between feminized seeds and autoflowering seeds listed in shops?

Fems vs. autos in dispensaries

When talking about the difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds, you’re comparing two growth patterns. Both seeds are most often female, so it’s a question of photoperiod vs. non-photoperiod development.

The table contrasts a photoperiod and auto version of the same strain in identical conditions.

Photoperiod (feminized) cannabis Autoflower cannabis
Larger crops Smaller crops
Larger yields Smaller yields
Suitable for trimming and training Not suitable for trimming and training
Depends on the seasons Grows any season
Slower growth Faster growth
Flowers when there’s under 14 hours of light Flowers automatically
Usually more potent Usually less potent
More beginner-friendly Intermediate-level

Now that you’re aware of the difference between feminized seeds and autoflowering seeds, let’s see which variant is better for you.

Should I buy feminized or autoflowering seeds?

Knowing what the difference between feminized seeds and autoflowering seeds is helps you pick the option that works better for your garden.

As a rule of thumb, go for feminized seeds if:

  • Aroma and potency are your harvest priorities. Fems produce stronger and more fragrant buds.
  • You’re going for bigger yields. Photoperiod plants grow larger, sprouting more bud sites and fattening them for hefty harvests.
  • You’re new to cultivation. Fems take more time to flower and ripen, leaving room for fixing rookie errors.

Considering the difference between autoflowering seeds and feminized seeds, autos are a better fit when:

  • You live in a cold climate. Autos finish their life cycle more quickly, vegging and flowering while it’s still warm. You avoid the last and first days of frost.
  • You want more harvests per season. Outdoor growers in warmer climates can keep two gardens each summer with non-photoperiods.
  • You’d like to try a new strain. Grow a smaller auto batch and give it a test smoke before dedicating the full growing season to this herb.

Grow Cannabis Your Way

Learning the difference between feminized seeds and autoflowering seeds eases the growing challenge from day one. You can’t avoid these terms during seed shopping; why not use the knowledge to set yourself up for success?

Apply the tips to select a type but remember that both variants deserve your attention.

Don’t consider your choice set in stone after the first purchase. Buy both seed types and give both a shot. Let your experience determine your preference.

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