Autoflower vs. Feminized vs. Regular Seeds: What Is The Difference?

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Autoflower vs. feminized vs. regular
Author avatar By Derek LaRose
February 18, 2022
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If you’ve ever browsed the web looking for cannabis seeds, you’ll know there are various types out there. The most common choices to pick from are autoflower vs. feminized, not to mention old-school regular seeds

But how do you know which one to choose? Join us as we discuss these three seed variants, their similarities and differences, and some of our top suggestions.

Difference between autoflower, feminized and regular
Difference between autoflower, feminized and regular

What are autoflower seeds?

Before we jump into feminized and regular versions, what are autoflower seeds? Auto seeds are named for their ability to flower automatically, without the need for changing light cycles

Autoflower cannabis seeds are made by crossing an indica or sativa with a lesser-known subspecies, ruderalis, known for this autoflowering trait. 

Looking at autoflowering vs. feminized seeds, autoflowering seeds are easier to grow—if you have experience—and fast to flower; the whole growth cycle typically lasts about 10 weeks. These plants tend to be smaller, have little to no lighting schedule needs, and are more resistant to pests, fungi, and temperature fluctuations. 

In the past, most autoflowering strains were low yielders with low THC levels. Luckily, due to extensive breeding, autoflower marijuana seeds can now produce more generous yields and more potent buds. 

ProsCons
Light cycles don’t need to be changed or monitored.Lower yields
Compact and small, ideal for growers with limited space.Lower THC levels make it less potent than most photoperiod strains.
Easy to grow and have hardy genetics.Difficult to clone—usually, new seeds are required every growing season.
Due to its speedy growth, you can have a continuous supply all year round as multiple harvests are possible.Plants tend to be leafier with fewer buds.
CBD levels tend to be higher.
Due to genetics, the plants are less susceptible to mildew, pathogens, mold, fungi, and pests.

What is a feminized seed?

You now know about autos, but what is a feminized seed? Feminized seeds are genetically modified to maximize the chances of developing into only female plants—around 99% turn out to be fems. Breeders produce feminized seeds by inhibiting the hormone ethylene in female plants, using colloidal silver or other chemicals during the flowering stage.  

Feminized seeds produce greater, more potent yields and bigger plants. The moderate difficulty level makes it great for beginners and experienced growers alike. One of the few things to be mindful of is the lighting schedule needed to activate the flowering stage.

ProsCons
Produces high yields, and seedless buds tend to have a better terpene profile, higher cannabinoid content, and are more potent.Small chance of plants turning into hermaphrodites due to environmental stress or bad genetics.
Eliminates the need for gender profiling and the 50:50 genetic gamble.The flowering stage is dependent on lighting but can be delayed as needed.
High guarantee of producing female plants only.Not useful for breeding.
Significant reduction of accidental pollination as there’s no need to sift out the males in the pre-flower stage.

What are regular seeds?

Cannabis is a dioecious species, meaning that different plants either have male or female reproductive organs. Regular seeds have a 50/50 chance of growing into males or females. Pollen from males fertilizes females, creating a new generation of seeds, making regular seeds popular among breeders. 

Regular seeds are untouched and as nature intended. If consumption is your main goal, the females are what you’re after as they produce resin containing the highest concentrations of terpenes, cannabinoids, and other compounds. 

Using feminized seeds vs. regular seeds means you have more control over the plant gender, whereas with regular seeds, you have to germinate more seeds to account for the males.

The she-weeds should remain unfertilized if you want to ensure the production of high potency buds. To prevent accidental pollination, you must identify and remove the males in the pre-flower early vegetative stage. Regular seeds tend to be used by breeders and more skilled and experienced growers.

ProsCons
Needed for creating new strains and breeding.Germination of seeds is unpredictable, with a 50/50 chance of males or females.
Use mother plants to make a continuous supply of stem cuttings. Thereby retaining the best parent traits in these clones.Being a photoperiod means the vegetative phase can be delayed.
A pollen bank can be set up by breeders using pollen from male plants.Accidental fertilization could take place if males remain in the grow room.
Many different strains are available, from classics to modern hybrids.Need to germinate more seeds to account for the males.
No chemical or genetic modification makes them cheaper than other seed types. Misidentification of males and females could lead to problems.
Pile of cannabis seeds
Pile of cannabis seeds

What is the difference between autoflowering, feminized, and regular seeds?

Once you know what each seed type offers, you’ll need to know: what is the difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds? How do they differ from regular types?

It’s best to compare cultivation skill level, flowering period, average grow speed, and yield size. Here’s a comparison table to simplify the process.

PropertyAutoflowerFeminizedRegular
CultivationEasy (With previous experience)Easy to moderateModerate
Plant heightSmall to mediumMedium to tallMedium to tall
Start flowering2-4 weeks after plantingWhen receiving 12/12 hours of light & darknessWhen receiving 12/12 hours of light & darkness
Vegetative phaseFlowering phase starts based on age.Photoperiod, vegetative phase can be extended as desiredPhotoperiod, vegetative phase can be extended as desired
Average time – seed to harvest10–16 weeks12–24 weeks12–24 weeks
YieldLow–mediumMedium–highMedium
Required spaceLess MediumMedium–large
Suitable for cannabis pollenNoNoYes
Chemicals usedNoYesNo
Suitable for cloningNoYesYes

Are autoflowers less potent?

When autoflower seeds first appeared on the grow scene, they were generally considered less potent. The Ruderalis subspecies responsible for the autoflowering trait have very low levels of THC and, therefore, low potency. 

So are autoflowers less potent? Fast forward to the present, we can thank breeders for crossbreeding Ruderalis plants with strains that are extremely high in THC. Due to their dedication, autoflower plants can have similar potency.

Some autoflowering strains are even as potent as feminized strains. Generally, though autoflowering strains tend to be less potent, luckily, autoflower plants can still produce a quality harvest.

Autoflower vs. feminized vs. regular seeds: which to choose?

It’s important to note that not one seed type is necessarily better than the others. Choosing the best option for you depends heavily on what you want from the plants. Several factors influence what seeds you choose from autoflowering seeds vs. regular or feminized. 

Some of the factors include your preference, purpose, skill level, yield size, and available resources. Questions to consider are:

What is your skill level?

If you’re a beginner, our advice is to use feminized seeds. The cultivation process for feminized vs. regular or auto is way more streamlined, increasing your success rate in producing a great harvest. 

On the other hand, regular seeds are ideal for veteran growers or those wanting more experience. Autos are easy to grow but are unforgiving to newbie errors due to the quick flowering times—so a little gardening knowledge is a must.

Indoor or outdoor cultivation?

When looking at indoor or outdoor cultivation, the biggest difference between autoflowering and feminized plants is that auto plants tend to be smaller and bushier. This characteristic makes auto strains ideal for indoor cultivation. Feminized and regular plants generally grow taller and bigger, working better outdoors.

Keep your growing situation in mind when selecting your seed type. If you have limited space, time, and a little knowledge, autoflower seeds might be the easiest way to ensure a bumper harvest. If space isn’t an issue, you might want to consider regular or feminized seeds, meaning bigger harvests.

What is your purpose for growing?

Feminized seeds are great for those seeking bountiful yields and maximum potency. With the chances of males appearing minimized, feminized plants have the best potential of producing canopies full of potent colas

If speed is your goal, autoflower strains are the way to go, with their shorter life cycle and resilient genes. The difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds is that auto plants can’t handle stress, negatively impacting quality and plant health. Whereas regular and feminized plants respond well to high-stress training.

If breeding new and exciting strains is your dream, regular seeds are the answer. Regular seeds are more natural and produce genetically sturdy clones. Feminized strains are easier to raise, but interesting hybrids are out of the question. On the flip side, regular plants can be unpredictable and produce smaller yields as the male plants get culled.

What are the differences in lighting demands and harvest times?

Many growers choose seeds depending on the length of the grow cycle. Autoflowering plants have no lighting demands and flower based on age. This factor makes autos great for multiple year-round harvests.

Feminized and regular seeds have strict lighting demands and only begin flowering once their lighting schedule is changed. You have to account for this lighting demand and adjust as needed when growing outside.

Germinating marijuana seeds
Germinating marijuana seeds

Auto vs Feminized vs Regular: 9 best strains you should try

Whether autoflowering or feminized vs. regular seeds, each grower has their own opinion on which is best. It boils down to available space, personal preference, and growth expectations. 

If you’re a little overwhelmed by all the technical cultivation talk, don’t worry! Here are 3 of the best sellers in each seed type category to help you along the right path.

Autoflowering strains

Homegrown Cannabis Co. provides numerous autoflowering cannabis seeds, many of which are feminized. Here are three of our top sellers.

1. Bruce Banner autoflower cannabis seeds 

Bruce Banner autoflower is as massive and potent as the green superhero it’s named after. It hits both the brain and the body, sending you into a deep state of relaxation.

  • Lineage: (OG Kush x Strawberry Diesel) x ruderalis
  • THC: 21–26%
  • Terpenes: Camphene, d-limonene, myrcene
  • Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
  • Yield: Medium–high: 17.5-21 oz./m2 indoor; 2.5-5.5 oz./plant outdoor
  • Taste/Aroma: Sweet, berry, earthy, diesel
  • Effects: Creative, energetic, focused
  • Medical: Anxiety, depression, pain relief
Bruce Banner autoflower
Bruce Banner autoflower

2. Gelato autoflower cannabis seeds 

Gelato autoflower cannabis seeds are the cream of the cannabis crop; this cultivar has incredible flavors and potent THC levels. A great pick-me-up with an uplifting and euphoric effect alongside the initial energy surge.

  • Lineage: (Sunset Sherbet x Girl Scout Cookies) x ruderalis
  • THC: 19–21%
  • Terpenes: Limonene, myrcene, terpinolene
  • Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
  • Yield: 14-17.5 oz./m2 indoor; 2-3.5 oz./plant outdoor
  • Taste/Aroma: Sweet, blueberry, orange, woody
  • Effects: Creative, uplifting, hungry, relaxed
  • Medical: Anxiety, arthritis, migraines, muscle spasms
Gelato autoflower
Gelato autoflower

3. Sour Diesel autoflower cannabis seeds

Easy to grow and ideal for limited spaces, Sour Diesel autoflower is robust, zesty, high in THC, and a great all-rounder. Able to induce an energizing high, this strain helps keep you focused and motivated.

  • Lineage: (Chemdog 91 x Super Skunk) x ruderalis
  • THC: 16–23%
  • Terpenes: Myrcene, limonene, camphene
  • Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
  • Yield: 12.5-14 oz./m2 indoor; 2–6 oz/plant outdoor
  • Taste/Aroma: Diesel, lemon, skunk, herbal
  • Effects: Relaxing, energetic, focused
  • Medical: Depression, stress, inflammation
Sour Diesel autoflower
Sour Diesel autoflower

Feminized strains

Hopefully, your question “what is feminized seeds?” has been answered. Our store offers various feminized strains, three great options being: 

1. Shishkaberry Kush feminized cannabis seeds

Shishkaberry Kush feminized has the fragrance and flavor of a fresh fruit platter, making it one of the tastiest feminized cultivars. Easy to grow virtually anywhere this cultivar contains high levels of THC and is popular in the medical community.

  • Lineage: Blueberry x Afghani x OG 
  • THC: 16–21%
  • Terpenes: Camphene, d-limonene, linalool
  • Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
  • Yield: 16 oz./m2 Indoor; 17.5-21 oz./plant Outdoor
  • Taste/Aroma: Berry, earthy, pungent
  • Effects: Relaxing, mood-booster, euphoric
  • Medical: Insomnia, depression, nausea
Shishkaberry Kush feminized
Shishkaberry Kush feminized

2. Strawberry Cough feminized cannabis seeds

This sativa-dominant cultivar, Strawberry Cough feminized, is named for its delicious prominent strawberry flavor and, true to its name, is prone to make you cough. This award-winning bud sharpens your sensory awareness, making you feel happy, peaceful, and uplifted.

  • Lineage: Strawberry Fields x Old Haze  
  • THC: 19–23%
  • Terpenes: Myrcene, alpha-bisabolol, pinene 
  • Flowering Time: 10–12 Weeks
  • Yield: 14 oz./m2 indoor; 14 oz./plant outdoor
  • Taste/Aroma: Strawberry, sweet, spicy, earthy 
  • Effects: Calming, mood-booster, uplifting
  • Medical: Anxiety, depression, fatigue, nausea
Strawberry Cough feminized
Strawberry Cough feminized

3. Green Crack feminized cannabis seeds 

Famous for its unique smell and effects, Green Crack feminized plants have incredibly high THC levels. This potent cultivar gives users an amazing energy boost—not for the faint of heart.

  • Lineage: Skunk #1
  • THC: 17–25%
  • Terpenes: Limonene, terpinolene, camphene
  • Flowering Time: 7–9 weeks
  • Yield: 21 oz./m2 Indoor; 28-42.5 oz./plant outdoor
  • Taste/Aroma: Tropical, citrus, sweet, earthy 
  • Effects: Creative, energetic, happy
  • Medical: Fatigue, appetite, migraines, anxiety
Green Crack feminized
Green Crack feminized

Regular strains

Now that we’ve covered autoflower vs. feminized, all that’s left are regulars. Whether you want to breed new strains or keep your growing experience all-natural, there are several regular strains to choose from. Homegrown Cannabis Co. has some well-known regular seeds, including:

1. Blueberry regular cannabis seeds

The fruity punch of Blueberry regular is well-loved among those with a sweet tooth and those looking for an uplifting, relaxing, cerebral buzz. Naturally resistant to diseases and pests, these plants can provide generous yields once fully grown.

  • Lineage: Thai x Purple Thai x Afghani
  • THC: 15–20%
  • Terpenes: Myrcene, limonene, eucalyptol
  • Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
  • Yield: High, 21-24.5 oz./m2 indoor; 24.5 oz./plant outdoor
  • Taste/Aroma: Sweet, blueberry, vanilla, woody
  • Effects: Relaxing, focused, uplifting
  • Medical: Arthritis, anxiety, depression, stress
Blueberry regular
Blueberry regular

2. God Bud regular cannabis seeds

This indica-heavy cultivar induces a warm, peaceful state of relaxation. God Bud regular is one of the most potent regular strains able to produce buds with up to 30% THC. They’re also known to reward you with some of the largest harvests.

  • Lineage: Hawaiian x Purple Skunk x Unknown Canadian Strain
  • THC: 24–30%
  • Terpenes: Limonene, terpinolene, camphene
  • Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
  • Yield: High, 19.5-21 oz./m2 indoor; 35.5 oz./plant outdoor
  • Taste/Aroma: Sweet, chocolate, pine, woody
  • Effects: Calming, giggly, hungry, relaxed
  • Medical: Insomnia, pain relief, anxiety
God Bud regular
God Bud regular

3. Tropic Thunder regular cannabis seeds 

The cultivar has a chocolaty kick alongside a tropical sweetness, best for nighttime use. Known to produce a psychedelic high, Tropic Thunder regular chases away depression, stress, chronic pain, and insomnia.

  • Lineage: Hawaiian x Purple Skunk x Unknown Indica
  • THC: 20–24%
  • Terpenes: Myrcene, limonene, camphene
  • Flowering Time: 8–10 Weeks
  • Yield: 16 oz./m2 indoor; 16 oz./plant outdoor
  • Taste/Aroma: Chocolate, earthy, skunk
  • Effects: Happy, relaxed, talkative
  • Medical: Arthritis, migraines, stress, insomnia
Tropic Thunder regular
Tropic Thunder regular

Know the difference, make an informed choice

Now that you know the difference between feminized and regular seeds vs auto, the ball is in your court. Take the time to carefully consider your needs, resources, and preferences and, of course, the yield and potency you’re after. 

With high-quality seeds, you can expect decent harvests regardless of the seed type you choose. At Homegrown Cannabis Co. we have a wide variety to pick from, no matter what seed types you’re looking for. Head over to the store and select your next batch. 

If you still have some doubts, head over to our Homegrown Forum and chat with other home growers about how they choose their seed types.


About the author: Derek LaRose

Also known as Kronic from The Cannabis Kronicles, Derek LaRose is a young ambitious cultivator and a staple educator for indoor cultivation.