Most people might have totally misunderstood the concept between these two, feminized seeds and autoflower seeds. This article will hopefully shed light on this matter and would then know the difference between the 2 and the way each of those will assist you achieve an ideal cannabis harvest.
Previously, cannabis growers would only depend on the conventional way of planting cannabis seeds. Now, with the help of genetic manipulation and science, more growers can find better ways to grow cannabis more effectively through either auto-flowering or feminized seeds.
What is the Difference Between the Feminized and Autoflower Seeds?
There is a big difference here. To start with, autoflowering isn’t a seed intrinsically . It is a cannabis plant type. This plant will simply and automatically flower despite the vegetative state or light period it is in. On the other hand, feminized seeds are actual cannabis seeds that are specially bred to display all females with no production of males, which should have been discarded.
Which is the Better Choice Between Feminized and Autoflower?
Although autoflower provides 100% flowering, one could not be able to clone them and that you have to buy new seeds every time for growing. Whereas in feminized marijuana seeds, you may only buy one seed, and you can get as many plants from it depending on your choice since feminized seeds can be cloned.
Autoflowering vs. Feminized: There’s More to it Than Fits the Eye
Alack, the stereotypical arc of this story does not do truth to the complexities of the real world. What we humans appreciate most are female cannabis plants and their unpollinated resin buds. Nowadays, seeds from Sativa and Indica (or hybrids thereof) strains are often referred to as feminized, while the seeds from strains that have been crossbred with Ruderalis go by the name of ”auto-flowering.”
This ignores the fact that most auto-flowering seeds have been feminized as well. A more fundamental distinction would, therefore, be ”photoperiod” vs. ”auto-flowering” seeds, but for the sake of argument, we’stick to the established terminology. So what should you take into account when choosing between auto-flowering and feminized seeds?
In general, if you prefer multiple harvests a year, auto-flowering strains are a sure bet. Smaller plants and shorter flowering periods will result in modest but reliable yields. Feminized strains grow over a more extended period and can attain an impressive size at harvest time.
They are more delicate in terms of flowering and can only be harvested once a year, even though the yield will be abundant, potent, and with less leafy residue among your buds. Pruning will not help your auto-flowering plants as they’re only in their vegetative state for a limited amount of time, which limits the development of new branches.
By contrast, your feminized plants will benefit immensely from well-executed pruning and can grow into impressive specimens.
An additional advantage of feminized strains is that they can be cloned. A clone of a plant, basically a cutting you can replant, will retain not only the genetic makeup of the mother plant but also its age. For the auto-flowering strains, this means a clone will start flowering when it’sits just a tiny little plant, resulting in a very meager harvest.
A feminized (photoperiod!) clone will still have heaps of time to go through its vegetative state, allowing it to grow into a sizable plant by the time you’ll want to harvest. Each new auto-flowering plant will require a new seed, while a single grain of a feminized plant will allow you to cultivate a sizable cannabis garden.
Aside from these general considerations, you may want to delve a little deeper into the pros and cons of each option, depending on whether you’ll be growing your plants indoors or outdoors.
Autoflowering vs. Feminized: Outdoor Growing
Autoflowering strains provide the distinct benefit that you do not need to fret over the amount of light your plants are exposed to. They will age according to their genetic programming, independent of light cycles.
The modest size of auto-flowering plants is perfect for environments where you’ll want your cannabis to blend in with the rest of your garden. Autoflowering plants have the additional advantage of being exposed to pests for only a brief amount of time before harvesting.
Planting feminized seeds are usually done around March/April and harvesting around September/October. The feminized plant will continue to grow in the vegetative stage as long as it is exposed to the right amount of sunlight, which is perfect for growers who want their cannabis plants to figure prominently in their garden.
- They have a rigid schedule: the photoperiod governs feminized, so there is a maximum time for planting (usually in the Northern Hemisphere it varies between March and June) as well as for harvesting (often in September-October).
- The size of this type of cannabis plants is more mouldable: as you have a growing season linked to sun exposure, while the days are long, the plant will grow; therefore, if there are no other factors determining their growth (pot size, pests) the longer the time you invest in the growing season, the larger the size your plant will reach.
- You can shape your plant through pruning: since the growing season can take several months, you can correct the shape of your plant and mold it to your pleasure.
- More production: Usually, a feminized marijuana seed will provide a higher output of flowers than an auto-flowering one.
- More quality: although the quality of the auto-flowering has dramatically improved in recent years, the buds of a feminized plant will achieve higher levels of flavor and density than those of an auto-flowering one.
- Flexible schedule: since auto-flowering marijuana plants do not depend on the photoperiod for flowering, and you can have several harvests in one location and season throughout March to October.
- Misleading thieves: outdoor harvest takes place within the months of September-October, that’s when thieves concentrate their efforts to steal the plants loaded with buds. As the calendar of auto-flowering plants is flexible, it will allow you to harvest in those months when thefts are less frequent, like June, July, or August.
- Programmable Harvest: auto-flowering cycles are fixed, i.e., since they don’t depend on light cycles to perform their vital development, you can calculate when your Harvest will be ready. Usually, we are talking about periods ranging from 60 to 70 days, depending on the strain. Thus, auto-flowering cannabis seeds allow you to schedule your marijuana harvest and, therefore, to know in advance when you will have your pantry full of delicious buds.
- Light pollution: another advantage offered by these seeds is that you don’t have to worry about light pollution; i.e., it doesn’t matter if there is a lamp lit at night, and the light falls directly on your plant. This, in a feminized marijuana plant, could be a problem, because, to go through the flowering period properly, they need 12 hours of complete darkness.
- Speed: the cycles of auto-flowering marijuana plants are shorter than those of feminized, as mentioned earlier. In about 60-70 days, your plant will be ready to harvest. This means that there is less risk of suffering pests because the plant life cycle is shorter.
- Discretion: auto-flowering marijuana plants are ideal for those growers who seek choice. Depending on the size of the pot, we can determine the future scope of the plant (the more significant the container, the larger the plant will be), so this is a perfect choice for those that want to cultivate during a balcony, for instance .
- Taste: as a general rule, auto-flowering plants produce more leaf material in the buds that the feminized ones. Consequently, the feeling of auto-flowering is a bit worse.
- Pruning: It is not recommended to apply any pruning technique to auto-flowering plants, because there is no time for the plant to recover and pruning loses all meaning.
- Early mistakes: even though auto-flowering plants are usually the right choice for beginners, they have a small drawback: an error will pay dearly. Since the cycle of these plants is concise, there is no time for them to recover. Therefore, if you make a beginner’s mistake and your plant is blocked, it will most likely be reflected in your Harvest.
Autoflowering vs. Feminized: Indoor Growing
Autoflowering strains will do just fine when following a regular 16 hours of light/8 hours darkness regime throughout their vegetative and flowering stages. Their relatively small size makes them perfect candidates for indoor growing when limited space is an issue. We have provided a more detailed guide on growing auto-flowering plants, useful for indoor and outdoor growing.
Keeping plants from feminized seeds in their vegetative state will require about 18h of light and 6 hours of darkness. As soon as you modify the sunshine cycle to a 12h light/12h darkness regime, the plant will start flowering, and there is no turning back. Pruning your plant, so it reaches its full potential requires some skill, and therefore the plant will eventually take up a substantial amount of space.
- Variable and programmable cycles: feminized marijuana plants depend on the photoperiod to flower. In the vegetative phase (the plant only grows and does not produce flowers), cannabis plants should ideally receive 18 hours of light. If you manage to keep your culture under 18 hours of light and 6 of darkness, plants will grow steadily.
- By the time you change the timer controlling the lamps of your crop to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness, they will immediately start the flowering period. This is a great advantage when applying techniques like SCROG because we can extend the vegetative phase as much as we want.
- Possibility of developing mother-plants: since you can lengthen the vegetative season of feminized as much as you want, this will allow you to select those plants whose characteristics (speed, power, endurance, from) are the best and produce mother-plant later to obtain crops from cuttings.
- Speed: an advantage of auto-flowering versus feminized is that their life cycle is shorter, so you will have access to your Harvest in a shorter period.
- Default duration: as auto-flowering plants don’ depend on the photoperiod for their cycle, once it starts, you will know just about how long your crop will take.
- Pests: since these plants have a shorter life span, the risk of plague infecting them or expanding so much that it becomes fatal is less.
- Economy: we recommend cultivating cannabis plants in a single auto-flowering photoperiod of 18 hours of light and 6 of darkness for maximum performance. This, even though it results in increased productivity, will also imply increased spending on the electricity bill.
- Pruning: we don’t recommend pruning auto-flowering plants in indoor cultivation because it makes no sense given the rapidity of its cycle.
Benefits of Feminized Seeds
- Feminized seeds develop female plants. This prevents the pollination of male plants.
- Every plant will grow smokable cannabis
- Optimum utilization of the available space
- Feminized seeds are almost 100% free of hermaphrodites.
- Higher weed production than autoflowers
- The quality of the taste and the effect is generally better than with autoflowers
- Plants from feminized seeds produce fewer leaves than autoflowers
- In contrast to autoflowers, non-autoflowers (female plants) are often pruned
Benefits of Autoflowering Seeds
- Harvest Sooner
- Get more harvests per season
- Perpetual Harvests
- Less hassle, Easier Growing
- More manageable in size
- More suitable for stealth growing
- No need to bother about the light schedule
- No problems with light leaks
- Better resistance to weather and diseases
- They only get better