Feminized Seeds vs Regular seeds vs Autoflowering Seeds-Are You Ready to Choose Your Seed?
Autoflowering, Feminized, and Photoperiod seeds are some of the many different types of seeds that you’ll see at an online seed bank. As a result, It can be quite confusing for newbie cannabis growers who are buying their first cannabis seeds. Choosing the correct cannabis seed is crucial though, (this is especially true for beginning growers) as the proper marijuana seed strain can mean the difference between success and failure. That’s why before buying your first seeds you need to read this article on, newbie-friendly, autoflowering, and feminized cannabis seeds.
What You’ll Learn
This article is geared toward newbie marijuana growers, and will examine the following types of marijuana seeds:
- Autoflower Cannabis Seeds
- Feminized Cannabis Seeds
- Photoperiod Cannabis Seeds (AKA-Regular Seeds)
- Feminized Autoflowering Seed
And, with that above knowledge, I will tell you what is the best marijuana seed choice for beginning indoor cannabis growers.
What a Newbie, Indoor Gardener Should Look For When Buying Marijuana Seeds?
Marijuana strains each have their own characteristics that, for example, influence how tall a marijuana plant will grow, how much THC and CBD it’ll have, and the yield per plant. Therefore, some cannabis strains thrive with outdoor growing, while other strains work well in an indoor grow room, grow tent with grow lights. The following though are the criteria that newbie growers should look for when purchasing seeds.
- Ease Of Growing– Before buying a cannabis seed you need to first find out how hard a particular marijuana strain seed is to grow. For example, with regular cannabis seeds you’ll need to put your plants on a strict light schedule and also make sure that you, in a timely manner, prune the male cannabis plant’s pollen sac.
- Max Plant Height-Depending upon your grow area is set up you’ll be most likely have limited space. So, you need to pick a plant that will optimally fit in either your grow room or grow tent , and whether your grow light will work for that particular strain.
- Hardiness-Certain, weed strains can withstand poor growing conditions and circumstances that other plants. For example, some strains are better able to deal with pests, watering problems, etc. Beginners should be sure to start out with a hardy plant that can withstand the inevitable mistakes that you’ll face as a newbie grower.
Autoflowering Vs Feminized Vs Photoperiod (AKA Regular Cannabis Seeds)
Autoflower seeds, feminized seeds, photoperiod seeds, and feminized auto seeds are the four types of seed types that you’ll encounter at your online seed bank. Each of these types has its own pros and cons. Of the four, autoflower, feminized, and autoflowering cannabis seeds are the best for newbies. Starting with autoflowers I will now explain the reason that the auto, feminized, and auto/feminized seeds are the best for the beginning grower.
Autoflower Marijuana Seeds
The Lowryder Autoflower cannabis seed, in 2002, was the first autoflower seed on the market. The first autoflowering seeds were known for being beginner-friendly, compact, short grow time, and other advantages. However, autoflowers also have some serious drawbacks that’ll address below.
What Are Autoflowers?
Regular marijuana seeds and feminized photoperiod seeds will only flower upon a changing of the lighting schedule. On the other hand, autoflower cannabis seeds automatically begin to flower after around two to four weeks.
How Were Autoflower Seeds Created In the First Place?
The first autoflowering cannabis seed was made by crossing a Sativa or Indica marijuana plant with a cannabis Ruderalis marijuana plant. The Ruderalis plant is important here because they occur naturally in areas that have short summers accompanied by a high amount of daylight hours. The ability of the Ruderalis plant to thrive in these unique daylight conditions is passed on to the autoflowering seed. Therefore, combining these three types of seed results in you not having to change an autoflowers plant’s lighting schedule. Hence, they are easier to grow, and as a bonus, they also grow quicker.
Cannabis Ruderalis plants are only used for breeding purposes. So, the normal grower will likely never see or even deal with ruderals plants or seeds.
How Are Autoflowering Seeds Different From Regular Seeds?
Autoflowering seeds are different from regular cannabis seeds in many ways. Some of the more notable is that, as I explained earlier, autoflowers do not require you to change the grow light schedule. Additionally, autoflowers will harvest quicker than photoperiod seeds. However, there are sacrifices that come with these conveniences, which will be detailed below.
Down Points of Autoflowers
The main drawback of autoflowers is the yield. Autoflowers are more compact than photoperiod marijuana plants, which makes them easier to fit in an average grow tent . This compact nature means that they also have a significantly lower yield than regular cannabis seeds. As an example, the LSD autoflower strain, on average yields from four to six ounces per square meter. On the other hand, its feminized photoperiod counterpart yields 14 to 17 oz or more per yield. Another drawback is that autoflower cannabis plants also cannot be cloned, which means that you’ll be forced to purchase new seeds each year.
With improvement in cloning, this difference has become less pronounced. But, generally, autoflower seeds are less potent than regular cannabis seeds.
What Are Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
Like autoflower seeds, feminized marijuana seeds are quite new as they were only introduced on the market in the 1990s. Simply put, though, a feminized seed only grows female plants.
Why Should You Consider Planting A Female Seed Over Autoflowering Strains and Regular Seeds?
To answer this question you first need to know that female plants are the only marijuana plants that have smokeable buds. Photoperiod cannabis seeds or regular seeds both grow male and female plants. Male plants have insignificant amounts of THC and CBD, and instead of buds, the male plant has a pollen sac that if it is not removed in a timely manner will release pollen. The escaped pollen can a female plant’s buds unsmokeable. As for the feminized seeds over the autoflower seed female weed seed would be preferred because of feminized strains’ superior yield over the auto flower.
What Are Autoflowering Feminized Cannabis Seeds?
Autoflowering feminized marijuana seeds are seeds that only grow an autoflowering female cannabis plant. They are essentially the best of both worlds as with this seed you’ll not have to worry about the lighting schedule or having to trim off a male plant’s pollen sac.
The drawback of feminized autoflowering cannabis seeds are the same problems that happen with a regular autoflowering cannabis seed, which are lower yields, on average less THC, and in the long run, depending upon how much you grow, they might even cost more. Nowadays, many online seed banks, like I Love Growing Marijuana, only have feminized autoflowering strains.
As with most anything in life, you’ll first need to learn to crawl before you can walk. Growing weed isn’t an exception to this rule. So, beginning growers need to keep it as simple as possible. To keep it simple your first grows should only use a feminized autoflowering seed. And you can progress onto solely feminized plants after you have a few successful harvests.
The Benefits Of Growing Regular Cannabis Seeds
When looking through seed catalogs or discussing growing cannabis with other growers and/or breeders, most of the time you will come across the terms “feminized” or “auto” with only a handful of breeders and seed banks offering what are known as regular cannabis seeds. When looking at the price of such seeds, they are generally significantly cheaper than their feminized/automatic counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that they are less valuable. In fact, growing regular cannabis seeds can not only provide the exact same quality as far as salacious buds are concerned, but they can also be used for several other purposes where feminized seeds will not work.
How are regular cannabis seeds different from the rest?
To answer that, we have to talk a little bit about ‘the birds and the bees’ of the cannabis plant. Like most other flowering plants, cannabis passes on its genetics to younger generations through the pollination of its female sex organs using the pollen produced by the male sex organs.
During the vegetative phase, male pre-flowers develop round little sacs containing pollen around 3-4 weeks following germination. In female plants, the pre-flowers do not develop until 4-6 weeks from germination. This little discrepancy can come in useful when determining the sex of the plant.
In contrast to male flowers, female flowers start off looking like tear-shaped leaves, known as the bract, which houses the reproductive parts. Therein lies the calyx, which is the base of the flower holding everything together and containing the most coveted parts of the plant, namely the pistils (the reproductive organs along with long hairs called stigmas) and the trichomes (resin glands producing THC and other cannabinoids). The pollen-containing sacs on the male flowers grow until they burst open, spreading their pollen all over the area, which eventually makes its way over to the pistils of the female flower. This is where seed production takes place and where resin (and cannabinoid) production slow down as a result. The longer a budding flower has to wait, the more resin and cannabinoids it produces in order to attract pollen from male flowers. For precisely this reason, most growers try to avoid pollination of their flowers as some THC potency is lost in the process and also, no one really enjoys picking seeds out of their product.
Benefits of Regular Seeds
So what makes regular seeds different from the others? The answer lies in the genetics of their offspring, in other words their seeds. Cannabis is a dioecious plant, meaning you have separate male and female plants with their respective reproductive organs. Although there are monoecious cannabis plants (i.e. self-pollinating or hermaphrodite plants), they are used mostly for industrial purposes such as fiber production and nearly all seedbanks will stock only dioecious plants, with feminized seeds making up the overwhelming majority of those.
Create Your Own Strain
So why stock regular seeds if most people don’t want male flowers? There are several reasons actually. Perhaps the most common reason why people are interested in regular seeds is the ability to breed and create new strains. Feminized seeds will produce female plants 99.9% of the time, meaning they will not pollinate to produce offspring. While this means a bigger harvest compared to non-feminized plants that end up being pollinated, it also means that you will not be able to pass on the plant’s genetics once seeds run out. Regular seeds provide more stable plant genetics than feminized seeds as they haven’t undergone any genetic modification that would make future generations less stable. Potential seeds from a feminized plant might not even make it past germination, let alone express the same phenotypes of their parents.
Mothers, Clones and Lineage
Thanks to this genetic stability, you can also keep mother plants for taking cuttings/clones (also known as asexual reproduction), which is another area where regular seeds will do better than feminized ones. Plants grown from regular seeds also tend to be more vigorous, allowing them to better handle stress and providing them with greater chances of survival in the long run.
Another reason regular seeds are preferred by breeders is their genetic lineage. They are seen as “the real deal” in terms of plant genetics, not some unknown/unstable knockoff which may or may not produce the desired phenotypes some claim they have. This means that regular seeds will consistently produce the same offspring with every generation. To a genetic purist who likes old school varieties such as Skunk #1, Northern Lights, or AK-47, any other type of seed is an absolute deal-breaker.
Since regular seeds are procured as mother nature intended, i.e. pollination of a female flowers with pollen from the male plant, no genetic modification is required to produce them. These days in particular, many people are trying to avoid the use of artificial chemicals and solvents with respect to their cannabis and seed production is no different. To obtain feminized seeds, breeders usually spray female plants with unpleasant-sounding chemicals (colloidal silver) that make them grow male pollen sacs. While seeds obtained using this method are completely safe to use, smoking the flower that was sprayed with colloidal silver is not. Another option is to wait for a female plant among a group of females to turn hermaphrodite and start producing feminized pollen on her own. This process is known as rodelization, however it is a much more unreliable and less predictable method of producing seeds. By going the traditional route, you are not only avoiding the use of any chemicals on your plants, you are certain to obtain the desired genetics.
Great Genetics At A Lower Price
Another advantage that regular seeds have over feminized or autoflowering plants is their price. Generally speaking regular seeds are considerably cheaper to buy since half of them will end up being males, which growers usually do not want and almost always end up throwing away. For some, the lower price is indicative of inferior quality, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. While it is much easier to have seeds that produce female plants 99% of the time, the extra work and resources required to weed out the males is worth it in the end, especially considering the genetics of female plants from regular seeds are just as desirable if not more than feminized ones. With regular cannabis seeds you are engaging in a genetic lottery as far as males vs. females are concerned and while sexing plants (determining their sex before they flower) can take some practice, most breeders will agree that the end result is worth it.