If you are looking to start growing your own cannabis plants but are unsure of which type of seeds to choose? You’re not alone! With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to make a decision. Autoflower or feminized seeds has been a topic of debate among growers for years. Going back a decade ago and the arguments were pretty one-sided in favor of feminized seeds. However, with vast improvements in autoflower genetics in the last 5-10 years many growers are switching sides. So, which is best in your opinion in the autoflower vs feminized debate? Let’s take a look and see how they stack up against each other.
What is the difference between autoflowering and feminized seeds?
Before we dive into which is better, let’s first define what each type of seed is. Autoflowering seeds come from the ruderalis family of cannabis which is where they have inherited their ability to flower automatically. Instead of flowering based on light, like photoperiod seeds, autoflowers begin to produce bud based on their age. This means the flowering stage always starts around 2-4 weeks after germination. Because of this autoflowers don’t rely on light cycles like traditional cannabis plants, which need specific amounts of light and darkness to initiate flowering. Autoflowering plants are generally smaller in size but have much shorter veg and flowering stages allowing them to grow from seed to harvest in as little as 8 weeks.
On the other hand, feminized seeds differ in how they respond to light cycles. They rely on specific amounts of light and darkness to trigger flowering. Typically, photoperiod seeds require a light cycle of 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness during the vegetative stage, followed by a light cycle of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness during the flowering stage. Feminized seeds have much longer vegetative and flowering stages usually taking between 15-25 weeks to grow from seed to harvest. However, they are considerably bigger than autoflowers, especially when grown outdoors with lots of space.
What are photoperiod seeds?
Photoperiod seeds are any cannabis seeds that rely on specific amounts of light and darkness to trigger flowering. Typically, photoperiod seeds require a light cycle of 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness during the vegetative stage, followed by a light cycle of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness during the flowering stage.
What’s better autoflower or feminized?
The answer to this question really depends on what you’re looking to achieve out of your grow. If you’re a first-time grower or looking to attempt a small scale indoor grow with a quick turnaround, autoflower seeds may be the better choice. With their automatic flowering abilities, you won’t have to worry as much about light cycles and can harvest your weed in as little as 8-10 weeks. However, it’s important to note that because autoflower plants are generally smaller in size, they will yield less than feminized photoperiods.
Although if you’re a more experienced grower or you simply have lots of space and want to achieve maximum yield, feminized seeds may be the better option for you. Photoperiods grow according to light, so if you are growing indoors, you can keep them in the vegetative stage as long as you want so that come flowering, your plant is huge. And if you have an outdoor grow space then feminized seeds may be a no-brainer when it comes to yields. Feminized photoperiods are known to be able to yield up to 1kg per plant outdoors, I have seen some that are literally trees!
Autoflower vs feminized seeds for indoor grows
When it comes to indoor growing, both autoflower and feminized seeds can be grown successfully, but it really depends on your setup and preferences. If you have a small indoor space or limited grow lights, autoflower seeds may be a better option. Their smaller size means they can be grown in smaller containers and don’t require as much light as larger feminized plants. Plus, their automatic flowering abilities mean you won’t have to worry as much about light cycles, making them great for beginner growers.
However, if you have a larger indoor space and want to maximize your yield, feminized seeds may be the better choice. With a longer vegetative period and larger size, feminized plants can take advantage of more space and light to produce a bigger overall harvest. Additionally, indoor growers have more control over light cycles, so the lack of automatic flowering in feminized plants won’t be as much of an issue.
Autoflower vs feminized seeds for outdoor grows
When it comes to growing outdoors, there are advantages to growing with both autoflowering and feminized seeds. It really does come down to how much space you have, how much weed you want to produce and where you live.
Just because autoflower plants are smaller it doesn’t mean that they are indoor plants, autos grow very well outdoors too. In fact thanks to their ruderalis genetics, autoflowers are incredibly robust strains and can handle much colder, harsher conditions than ordinary feminized photoperiods. So if you live in a slightly cold part of the world autos may be the better option for you.
Another reason why you may want to consider autoflowers for your outdoor grow is based on where you are located. If you live in a region with shorter growing seasons, or somewhere near the equator where the daylight hours don’t change much between summer and winter then autos may be the way to go. Remember, autoflowers don’t flower according to light, whereas photoperiods do. If you were growing a photoperiod where there is only 11-12 hours of daylight, it would begin to flower early, which would result in a plant that is smaller and yields less.
Feminized plants, on the other hand, do yield more so for those of you that live somewhere nice and warm like California and have plenty of outdoor space feminized seeds may be a better option. Feminized photoperiod strains have longer vegetative and flowering stages than autos, allowing them to grow larger and produce more bud. They can also be grown using more stress inducing techniques such as fimming and topping which are methods to increase the yield of a cannabis plant.
Are Autoflowers less potent?
One common misconception about autoflower plants is that they are less potent than their photoperiod counterparts. However, this is not necessarily always true. While some autoflower strains may have lower THC levels, there are plenty of high-potency autoflower strains available on the market. For example, a high potency autoflower such as Gorilla Glue will probably produce more THC than a medium potency photoperiod such as Big Bud. Let’s take a closer look at the highest THC and highest yielding strains of both autoflowering and feminized so that you can compare.
|Gorilla Glue Feminized||25% – 30%|
|Gorilla Glue Autoflower||20% – 25%|
|Big Bud Feminized||14% – 17%|
|Big Bud Autoflower||14% – 17%|
What yields more Autoflower or feminized?
When it comes to sheer size, feminized plants generally come out on top. Feminized plants spend much longer in the vegetative stage and in this time they grow much bigger and taller which allows them to pack on lots of bud during the flowering stage. Feminized seeds can also be grown using high stress training techniques like topping, fimming and super cropping, which can result in bushier growth and more bud sites.
Yield over time
However, one thing that often gets overlooked when comparing yield, is yield over time. What I mean by this is that although feminized seeds produce a lot more bud than autoflowers, they take a lot longer to grow it, so which produces more bud when we take this into consideration?
Let’s say an average feminized plant takes around 18-20 weeks from seed to harvest and yields around 200-500 grams (indoors).
Now let’s say the average autoflower plant takes 8-10 weeks to grow from seed to harvest and yields around 50-150 grams (indoors).
Although the feminized plant yields more the autoflowering plant grew in half the time, sometimes it can be as fast as a third of the time when you are growing sativas. This means that you could fit in 2-3 autoflower grows into the time period that you might fit one sativa photoperiod grow.
Are Autoflowers better for beginners?
Autoflower plants are often touted as the better option for beginners because of their shorter grow time and smaller size. They also don’t require as much attention when it comes to light cycles, which can be easier for new growers to manage.
Thanks to their ruderalis genetics autoflowers are also the more robust strain. Ruderalis grows naturally in the cold harsh climates of Russia and Siberia and so autoflowers are able to handle much colder conditions than most feminized strains. This may not be an advantage to everyone but for anyone hoping to grow outdoors in cooler countries it is something to consider.
Overall if you have the space for a feminized plant, then there probably isn’t that much difference in difficulty. However, when it comes to indoor growing particularly in smaller grow tents autoflowers cannot be beat for convenience and ease of growing. When your feminized plant reaches the flowering stage and you have a 6 foot sativa that is succumbing to heat stress because it is growing too close to your light you will know what I am talking about.
What are the pros and cons of Autoflowers?
- Quick flowering time.
- Smaller size, making them ideal for limited space grows.
- Don’t require specific light cycles.
- Robust and able to grow in cold weather.
- Ideal for stealth grows.
- Generally, produce lower yields than feminized plants.
- Slightly less potent than the equivalent feminized version.
- You cannot clone and autoflower.
- Limited control over the growing process.
In conclusion, the choice between autoflower and feminized seeds ultimately depends on your preferences, setup and experience level. Autoflower plants are a great option for those looking for a quicker turnaround and smaller plants, while feminized plants offer more control over the growing process and the potential for larger yields. Regardless of which you choose, remember to do your research and properly care for your plants for a successful grow. Happy growing!