Autoflower vs feminized seeds

Are you new to the world of cannabis cultivation and wondering what the difference is between autoflower vs feminized seeds? Look no further! In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of growing with either variety so you can decide which is best for your garden.

Autoflowering seeds: What are they and how do they work?

Autoflowering seeds have some unique characteristics that set them apart from other varieties of cannabis. This is because all autoflowers are bred with the ruderalis species of cannabis. Ruderalis strains are native to cold regions of the world that have short summers and long winters, to survive in this climate they have adapted to flower automatically. This means that all cannabis plants grown from autoflowering seeds begin to flower at around weeks 2-4 regardless of how much light they receive.  In other words, they flower according to their age and not their light cycle. This is the most noticeable difference between autoflower seeds and feminized photoperiod seeds.

Advantages of autoflower seeds

Faster growing

Because autoflowers flower early they have very short vegetative periods, so short in fact that they still carry on growing during the flowering stage. They also have short flowering stages, and because of this reduction in growth time autoflowers can be grown from seed to harvest in as little as 8 weeks. The main benefit of this is that you can have multiple harvests in a year, compared to feminized seeds that take longer to mature. 

Manageable size

Autoflowers are also much smaller in size. Although you may be reading this thinking it is a disadvantage, if you are growing indoors the shorter strains are much easier to maintain and still provide plenty of bud.

Easy to grow

Autoflowering plants are easy to grow, making them an ideal choice for novice growers. They don’t require a specific light cycle, and their smaller size means that you can grow them indoors or outdoors with ease.

More robust

Thanks to their ruderalis genetics autoflowers naturally grow better in colder conditions. So if you plan to grow outdoors and you live in a cold region autoflowers may be the way to go.

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Feminized seeds: What are they and how do they work?

The main differences between feminized and autoflower seeds are their size, how long they take to grow and the way in which they flower

Feminized seeds are capable of producing up to 1lb of weed which means they can produce plants with 4-5 times the amount of bud. However, they will take 2-3 times longer to grow from seed to harvest. 

The other main difference is that they are photoperiodic, let’s take a look at what a photoperiod strain actually is….

What is photoperiod?

Photoperiod plants respond to changes in the amount of light they receive. When a photoperiod plant receives less than 12 hours of light it thinks that summer has ended which triggers the plant to start flowering. 

To grow photoperiod seeds successfully, growers need to provide the plants with a consistent light cycle of 18 hours of light and 6 hours of dark during the vegetative stage. This can be done by setting up grow lights on a timer or by growing the plants outdoors during the right season. For indoor growers once the plant reaches the desired size the lights need to be changed to a schedule of 12 hours light and 12 hours darkness. This signals to the plant that it should begin to produce buds.

One advantage of photoperiod seeds is that they allow growers to control the timing of the flowering cycle. By manipulating the amount of light the plants receive, growers can control when the plants begin to flower, allowing them time to grow big during the vegetative stage which usually translates to bigger yields when you get to the flowering stage.

You may be reading this, thinking what’s the difference between autoflowers and feminized then, well in actual fact, all of our autoflowering seeds are feminized too. Feminized simply means that the will produce female bud producing plants. 

So really, the question that you should be asking is, what is the difference between photoperiods and autoflowers?

Advantages of feminized seeds

Feminized photoperiod strains differ from autoflowers because they begin to flower based on the amount of light they receive instead of flowering automatically. Although changing light cycles when growing indoors may be more hassle, it offers lots of advantages too. Here are some positives of growing feminized seeds:

Yield: Feminized seeds produce bigger yields than autoflowering strains. With the right amount of light, nutrients, and care, they will grow bigger, and if grown outdoors are capable of producing over 1lb of weed.

Control: When growing indoors, because they only begin to flower once the light cycle is changed to 12/12 feminized seeds allow for more control over the growing process. You can manipulate the length of the vegetative stage to create larger plants and customize the flowering period to fit your schedule.

Variety: There is a wider variety of feminized strains available compared to autoflowering strains. This means you can choose from a broader range of genetic traits, such as flavor, aroma, and effects.

Quality: Some cannabis connoisseurs believe that photoperiod strains produce better quality buds compared to autoflowering varieties. The longer flowering period allows for more time for the trichomes to develop, resulting in a higher concentration of THC and other cannabinoids.

Learning experience: Growing feminized cannabis can be a fun and educational experience. You’ll get to learn about the plant’s life cycle, experiment with different cultivation techniques, and develop your skills as a grower.

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So, what’s better autoflower or feminized?

So, which is better – autoflower or feminized seeds? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for, your experience and where you are growing. If you’re a novice grower looking for an easy-to-grow plant with a fast turnaround, autoflower seeds are the way to go. They are easy to grow and require less maintenance than feminized seeds.

However, if you’re an experienced grower looking for maximum yield and you have plenty of space to grow then feminized seeds may be the better option. Although feminized take longer to grow then autoflowers they usually yield significantly more especially when grown outdoors.

Autoflower seeds vs Feminized seeds comparison

Which is better for growing indoors?

When you grow weed indoors, the aim is to replicate the plants natural environment as best as possible. If you can achieve this then both autoflowers or feminized seeds can grow well indoors. However, there are some pros and cons of both….

Main reasons to grow autoflowers indoors:

– Autoflowers can be grown on one light cycle from start to finish. This is why they are often considered by beginners as easier to grow. 

– Autoflowering plants also tend to stay smaller and more compact, which can be beneficial in a small grow space. They are easier to train and manage without taking up too much space.

– Autoflowers grow much faster and can be grown from seed to harvest in as little as 8 weeks.

Main reasons to grow feminized seeds indoors:

– Feminized photoperiods are larger and yield much more weed when grown properly. 

– Feminized plants produce weed that is slightly more potent.

Which is better for growing outdoors?

When it comes to growing cannabis outdoors, you have much less control over your grow because you have to contend with the weather and other environmental issues such as pests. Both feminized and autoflowers can be grown outdoors but it really does depend on your local climate. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of growing autoflower and feminized plants outdoors. 

Cold regions:

Autoflowers tend to be more resilient to environmental changes, such as fluctuations in temperature or rainfall and can handle colder conditions better thanks to their ruderalis genetics. However, sativa autoflowers may not be able to take the cold as much as indica autoflowers.

Feminized indica strains are native to mountainous regions of India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. They can also grow well in windier, slightly cooler conditions than sativas. However, in cold conditions autoflowers will probably fare better.

Hot regions:

Sativa feminized seeds will fair best in hot humid climates because they grow naturally in South America and South East Asia. The tall long plant structure of sativas promotes good airflow which helps to prevent mold from developing.

Regions such as Thailand that are close to the equator although they have warm weather actually have quite short daylight hours, typically with 12 hours of light each day. In these regions, autoflowers could perform better because their flowering stage is not triggered by daylight. However, if you live in a region such as California that has long growing season and the right conditions, feminized seeds can produce some impressive yields.

What yields more: Autoflower or Feminized?

This is a tricky question, because it depends on a variation of factors such as the pot size, lighting, nutrients etc. However, in general, autoflower plants produce smaller yields than feminized photoperiods plants. 

Autoflowering plants have shorter vegetative and flowering periods, which means they grow into smaller plants with smaller yields. However, the benefit to this is that they can also be grown in smaller spaces, with a quick turnaround. Feminized plants tend to be larger and produce bigger yields, however, they can take two or three times longer to grow.

That being said, there are larger yielding autoflowering strains such as Big Bud and Tangerine Dream Auto that are able to produce yields of 200g per plant when grown in optimum conditions. For those of you that grow normal feminized seeds this may not seem much, but when you consider that the grow time is just 8-10 weeks it becomes a little more attractive.

Are Autoflowers better for beginners?

Autoflowers are considered easier to grow for beginners. This stems from the fact that they can be grown under one light cycle and tend to grow no taller than 60-100cm which makes them easy to manage indoors. If you were growing outdoors, and have plenty of room there isn’t much difference between the difficulty level of growing a feminized and autoflower plant. That being said, autoflowers are also more resilient to cold weather so it also depends where you live in the world. 

Overall if you are trying to decide which is best for you to grow between autoflower and feminized seeds, ask yourself these questions.

Are you growing indoors or outdoors?

Indoors – Autoflowers tend to grow no taller than 120cm so can be easy to maintain.

How much space do you have?

Lots of space – If you have plenty of room and want to grow lots of weed grow a feminized plant.

Not much space – Grow an autoflower. 

If you are growing outdoors, what is your climate like?

The below is just a basic beginners guide to which kind of strains are best suited to which environment best.

Subtropical – Grow a feminized or autoflower sativa.

Humid – Grow a feminized or autoflower sativa.

Dry Heat – Hybrid cannabis strains.

Cold – Grow an autoflower.

Cool – Grow a feminized indica or an autoflower.

Windy – Grow a feminized or autoflower indica.

Joe Musgrave

An avid 420 enthusiast, grower, smoker and writer. Joe writes non stop, sharing his extensive knowledge in the field of cannabis with the wider online 420 community through blogs like ours at High Yield Strains.

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