Regular, Feminized and Autoflowering Marijuana Seeds: What is the difference?

cannabis seeds
November 16, 2020

Cannabis seeds come in many types, by checking out all marijuana seeds for sale from us, you can see that we have all sorts of seeds on offer. The most common are regular, feminized, and autoflowering seeds. You might notice that Homegrown Cannabis Co. offers some strains in two or three different versions.

So, how do you know which one is for you?

All the seeds, of course, have their respective pros and cons. It is just a matter of choosing the one that best aligns with your needs and preferences. To do this, you need to understand the distinct qualities of each first.

Regular Marijuana Seeds

Cannabis is a dioecious species, which means that it can have male and female reproductive organs on separate plants. The males pollinate the females to create seeds, making it useful for breeding. The females, on the other hand, produce resin, which contains the highest concentrations of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other valuable compounds.

If you’re growing marijuana primarily for consumption, it is the females you want.

Regular seeds are marijuana seeds in their natural form, containing both male and female chromosomes. It has a 50-50 chance of maturing into either of the two sexes. As a grower, you don’t have full control over the plant gender. Providing the right environmental conditions, though, can increase the probability of females.

Keeping the she-weeds unfertilized also leads to higher potency buds. Hence, it is important to isolate or remove the males as soon as they appear to prevent accidental pollination. To do this, you need to know how to identify the gender of your plant in the first place. It entails waiting for the pre-flowers to pop up in the early vegetative stage.

While regular seeds might not sound appealing, they do have advantages that make them the go-to options of some growers.

Advantages of Regular Seeds

  • Regular seeds have not undergone any chemical or genetic modifications. As a result, it is a lot cheaper than other seed types.
  • Being naturally hardy, it has a better resistance against stress, pests, and diseases.
  • They can withstand low-stress and high-stress training methods, including the Screen of Green (SCROG) setup, topping, and super cropping. These can help improve the quality and quantity of the yields.
  • As a photoperiod, you can extend the vegetative phase as desired.
  • You can make mother plants and have an unlimited source of healthy stem cuttings. The resulting clones also tend to retain the best traits of the parents better than other seed variants.
  • You can grow cannabis plants the way nature intended – no shortcuts. It helps you perfect cultivating techniques or even learn new ones.
  • You can start a breeding project and create your own strains.

Feminized Marijuana Seeds

Regular seeds can be demanding. For one, you need to germinate twice as many seeds to compensate for the males. It also requires you to spend time and effort on plants that will ultimately be discarded.

There is gender profiling to consider, as well. For experienced growers, spotting the males is often a piece of cake. Beginners, in contrast, might have a hard time figuring out the sex of the plants. A single mistake can be disastrous, resulting in all the females getting pollinated.

To address these concerns, breeders have developed feminized seeds. It involves altering the seeds genetically to remove the male chromosomes, inducing the plants to grow into females most of the time. In other words, it is not foolproof, so be wary of anyone claiming a 100% success rate. Most seed banks offer about 80% female turnout. Meanwhile, Homegrown Cannabis Co. promises that your feminized seeds will mature into females up to 99% of the time.

For home-growers looking forward to harvesting the buds, there are many reasons why feminized seeds are to your advantage.

Advantages of Feminized Seeds

  • Feminized seeds often feature stabilized and carefully hand-picked genetics. Hence, they carry the finest qualities from each strain.
  • There is no need to wait for the pre-flowers to appear to know the male to female ratio of the plants. It also significantly reduces the risks of accidental pollination.
  • You can grow sensimilla or seedless buds. These have higher cannabinoid content, better terpene profile, and more potent medicinal properties.
  • Being photoperiod-reliant, you can delay the flowering phase as you see fit.
  • You can take cuttings and propagate clones. Using feminized seeds as mother plants also ensures that every offspring is female.
  • The plants are compatible with both LST and HST techniques.

Autoflowering Marijuana Seeds

Feminized seeds are already a dream come true for growers. It does away with the need to identify and segregate the males, helping simplify the cultivation process. But did you know that autos can make your life much easier?

Autoflowering seeds are yet another brainchild of cannabis breeders. It is made by crossing an Indica or Sativa with a lesser-known species – Ruderalis. These plants are incredibly hardy, having adapted to the harsh climates in the northern regions. To survive, they also learned to flower regardless of light conditions – and to do it fast.

These appealing traits are passed on to autoflowers. After 2 to 4 weeks in the vegetative stage, the plants automatically start blooming. The entire growth cycle is brief, lasting only about 10 weeks.

On the flip side, Ruderalis strains are low-yielders with naturally low levels of THC. The initial breeding efforts, in fact, seemed hopeless. The flowers were meager, low-potency, and tasteless. Fast-forward to the present, breeders have already perfected their techniques, giving birth to revamped autos that can produce a generous yield of potent buds.

Most of the autoflowering seeds provided by Homegrown Cannabis Co. are feminized as well.

Advantages of Autoflowering Seeds

  • It is the easiest to cultivate among all the seed types. In fact, it nearly automates the growing process. Hence, it is perfect for beginners.
  • The plants can tolerate lower temperatures – as long as it is not bitterly cold. They are also less susceptible to pests, pathogens, fungi, molds, and mildew.
  • Since autos are resilient, they have a high chance of surviving in an outdoor garden.
  • They are short, compact plants due to having Ruderalis genetics. This makes it well-suited for indoor growing, including micro grows.
  • You do not have to fuss with strict light schedules to trigger the flowering stage. In most cases, the plants are subjected to a 20/4 light schedule throughout the growing cycle.
  • The plants only take a month or less to finish blooming, helping you save precious time.
  • You can go for multiple harvests all-year-round for a continuous supply of the buds. Just ensure that the frost still has not arrived during the last harvest.
  • The effects of autos are usually more subdued than photoperiod varieties. It fits the bill of users with a low tolerance or those who dislike a too-powerful high.

Which Seed Is for You?

At first, it might seem like autoflowers outshine the other two. Here’s the thing – one seed is not necessarily better than the other. Both regular and feminized variants bring something to the table – it just comes down to your needs or even skill level.

For beginners, feminized and autoflowers are the most recommended. They streamline the cultivation process and increase the success rate of your harvest. Autoflowers, in particular, make the whole endeavor a breeze. If you want, you can try your hand at regular seeds after gaining more experience.

Next, consider other factors – most notably speed, potency, and yields.

If you want to harvest as soon as possible, autoflowering seeds are your best bet. After 10 weeks from the seedling stage, you can expect the colas to be ready for collection.

Autoflowering plants, though, cannot get stressed out, which will negatively impact plant health and quality. HST methods such as super cropping, in this case, are out the question. Due to their genetics, autos also tend to have reduced THC levels and low to medium yields. Multiple harvests, however, can bring in more rewards.

Regular and feminized seeds, on the other hand, can be subjected to high-stress training. It allows you to reach the maximum potential of the strain, especially in terms of yields and potency. Not to mention, their cannabinoid concentration and yields are already quite high, to begin with. These, of course, will require extra time, effort, patience, and resources.

One could say that it boils down to choosing between rapid cultivation but fewer buds and cannabinoids, or longer growing period but higher yields and potency.

Carefully assess your needs, growing situation, and goals. In the end, that is the only way to determine which type of seed is best for you.