Autoflowering VS Regular VS Feminized Cannabis Seeds: Evaluating the Pros & Cons

autoflowering marijuana strains

Marijuana is a rapidly growing industry. The main reason why cannabis is a market that is now rising faster than it ever has is the legalization of marijuana in major states and countries all over the world. This allowed many people to get their hands on high-quality marijuana seeds, which they can use to grow and cultivate their own cannabis plants.

As the marijuana industry grew, so did the ways that people approached growing cannabis. Through the evolution of our knowledge about cannabis plants and the different breeding techniques involved in doing so, there are now three main marijuana seed types, which all have their own special properties and attributes. Those are autoflowering seeds, regular seeds, and feminized seeds.

That said, which among the three main marijuana seeds are the better choice for you? To answer that question, it is better to understand more about the seeds themselves.

Autoflowering

1. What are they?

Autoflowering marijuana seeds, as the term “autoflowering” suggests, are types of cannabis seeds that will flower depending only on the passage of time. If you do not know your marijuana cultivation fundamentals, you will be able to allow marijuana plants to transition from the vegetative stage to the flowering phase by changing their photoperiod. In other words, you need to cut their light hours and increase their dark hours for them to move to the flowering phase.

However, autoflowering marijuana strains dispense the need for you to change the photoperiod because these seeds are not dependent on the number of light and dark hours they get to change from their vegetative stage to the flowering period. In other words, they only rely on the passage of time for them to flower. You no longer have to actually change the light and dark hours they are getting. But why is this such? We have to look at their history.

Autoflowering marijuana strains come from the Cannabis ruderalis plant, which is regarded as the third species of marijuana. Cannabis ruderalis is a plant that is commonly found growing in the wilds of cold and harsh mountainous regions. Some Cannabis ruderalis plants can be found in the high peaks of the Hindu Kush mountain range or in other northern-like mountainous places that are too cold for other types of cannabis to be able to thrive in.

However, through thousands of generations of adaptation, the Cannabis ruderalis plant was able to thrive well in such harsh conditions and have adapted to the cold mountainous regions where they can be found. Because of that, Cannabis ruderalis was able to develop into the plants that they are today.

In places where Cannabis ruderalis plants can be found, sunlight is not as abundant as it is in other regions. That means that Cannabis ruderalis was not able to rely on the photoperiod to move to the flowering phase. Over time, they were able to develop the ability to rely merely on time and age to start flowering.

As great as Cannabis ruderalis is because of its autoflowering capabilities, it was not until the first autoflowering strain was born that it became a fixture in the cannabis industry. Lowryder, the first autoflowering marijuana strain, was created when Northern Lights was bred with a ruderalis strain dubbed as “Mexican Rudy”. Since then, Lowryder’s genetics were used to create more autoflowering strains.

Today, the rise of autoflowering marijuana strains have helped change the complexion of marijuana seed cultivation. It has totally changed the growing game as many breeders and growers are now looking to grow autoflowering marijuana strains because of their many benefits.

2. Appearance

Autoflowering marijuana plants tend to be very small even when compared to small indica strains. That is because their Cannabis ruderalis ancestors were forced to grow under conditions that did not allow them to grow too tall heights. Sunlight was not abundant in their regions of origins. Of course, they also did not have a lot of nutrients there. As such, they were forced to stay tiny throughout their lives and were able to pass this trait on to their descendants, the autoflowering marijuana strains.

Other than their size, which also sets autoflowering marijuana plants apart is that they tend to have a shaggy growth pattern compared to indicas and sativas. Most of these strains tend to develop wide leaves that have a lighter shade of green similar to sativas. Meanwhile, their buds tend to be very small, which means that you would not be able to expect a huge harvest from most autoflowering marijuana strains.

3. Attributes

In terms of their attributes, autoflowering marijuana strains tend to have effects that are similar to regular marijuana strains. What that means is that an autoflowering version of a White Widow will have the same effects as a regular White Widow. But what really differs them from their regular counterparts is their potency.

Cannabis ruderalis is a marijuana variant that has minimal THC levels similar to the hemp plant. In a sense, when their genetics are used to create autoflowering cannabis strains, it only follows that the resulting offspring will have lower levels of THC and other cannabinoids compared to the regular marijuana strains.

Autoflowering marijuana strains are plants that tend to have a fixed and shorter lifespan compared to the regular marijuana strains. However, this also means that they also flower a lot faster than other types of seeds. In anticipation of the winter season, wherein even Cannabis ruderalis is unable to thrive well, these plants were able to develop the ability to grow and flower really fast. You can expect autoflowering marijuana strains to be ready for harvest in about 6 to 9 weeks depending on their genetics.

Moreover, because autoflowering marijuana plants have Cannabis ruderalis genetics, they are able to survive a lot of adverse conditions such as cold weather, molds, mildew, and diseases. Autoflowering strains tend to have a hardy and resilient nature that was born out of the Cannabis ruderalis’ history of growing in harsh and inhabitable regions.

While there are many reasons to grow autoflowering strains, they used to be treated simply as novelty plants in the past because they had little to no value in the cannabis industry simply due to the fact that they had very low THC levels.

But, as breeders were able to develop newer autoflowering strains, these seeds were able to change the marijuana market. Now, the autoflowering strains we see are much more potent than the original Lowryder and its close descendants. While autoflowering marijuana strains are still far from being as potent as regular cannabis buds, they are still in the middle of improving their potency.

4. Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Autoflowering plants are easier to grow because they do not rely on the photoperiod to transition from their vegetative stage to their flowering phase. Also, they are very hardy and resilient plants that tend to take care of themselves so long as you give them the minimal care they need.
  • They are compact plants that do not require a lot of space. What that means is that they are ideal for stealth growers and for those who do not have a lot of room for bigger marijuana strains. Of course, the smaller the plants are, the more of them you can cultivate in a limited area.
  • Quick harvest times means more harvests for you. Autoflowering strains are known for their rapid flowering times. So, in a sense, you will be able to harvest more of these strains in a single year compared to regular seeds. More buds for you, eh? And what that entails is that you will be able to smoke more or earn more by selling them.

Cons:

  • Because of how small autoflowering strains are, their buds are also just as small. That means that they do not have the heaviest of yields even though there are now autoflowering strains that have been developed to come close to the yields that regular strains have.
  • Autoflowering marijuana strains have lower THC contents compared to regular strains. They are not as potent as some other strains are and just do not offer the same kind of high and experience as a regular marijuana strain does. While this might be good for beginners, it simply does not cut it for those who have been smoking weed for a long time.
  • Their fixed lifespan means that they are not ideal for cloning. Clones follow the age of their mother plants. So, if you plan on cloning an autoflowering strain, the cloned plants will turn out to be smaller and will not be as generous in terms of their yields because they merely follow the age of their mother plant.

Regular

1. What are they?

As the term implies, regular marijuana seeds turn out to be your normal cannabis strains in the sense that they do not have any special properties. They follow the same course as an ordinary marijuana plant’s life and will turn out to be either male or female. In short, there really is nothing extraordinary about them as these strains are your regular indicas or sativas.

2. Appearance

In terms of appearance, regular marijuana seeds follow the ordinary appearances of indicas and sativas. Indica marijuana strains tend to be smaller plants that rarely grow taller than six feet in terms of height. They are also bushier and darker. Meanwhile, sativa marijuana plants are very tall and can even grow taller than 12 feet in height. They are thin and lanky and have leaves that are of a lighter shade of green.

Regular male marijuana plants develop pollen sacs, which will burst open to pollinate nearby female cannabis. Meanwhile, the females differ from the males in terms of appearance in the sense that they are the ones that produce flowers that can either be harvested for their buds or for their seeds.

3. Attributes

As mentioned, regular marijuana seeds have no special attributes that separate them from other types of cannabis seeds. Their attributes merely depend on the strain of marijuana you are using. In a sense, an indica follows the usual attributes of an indica while a sativa will have the qualities and properties of a sativa. Hybrids can be a different story because their attributes really depend on their genetics and on their parent strains.

Regular cannabis seeds, as mentioned, turn out to be either male or female. So, in that sense, you will not be able to know if your seeds will grow up to be male or female. All you have to do is to wait for them to reach a certain stage in their lifespan before you can judge their sex. And, depending on your goals and needs, you may even have to discard the male plants before they develop pollen sacs.

4. Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Regular marijuana seeds follow the status quo in the sense that you no longer have to change your approach when growing them.
  • They are great for breeding and producing seeds because you will be able to grow male plants, which can pollinate female marijuana plants.
  • The presence of male plants means that you get to avoid hermaphroditism, which happens when female plants are forced to develop male attributes in an attempt to pollinate themselves.
  • Their genetics are more stable in the sense that generations of backcrossing and stabilization have minimized the possibility of different phenotypes emerging form regular marijuana seeds.
  • Regular marijuana females are perfect for cloning because they minimize the onset of hermaphroditism.

Cons:

  • If you are only focused on bud production, having males on your grow space will cause a lot of problems because of how they slow down bud development in females.
  • About half of your seeds will turn out to be wasted because regular cannabis seeds have a 50% chance of turning into males that do not have buds.
  • They are inefficient because they do not grow very quickly and may end up turning into males instead of females.

Feminized

  1. What are they?

Feminized marijuana seeds are seeds that will always turn out to be female cannabis plants. Yes, that is right, you will be able to prevent the onset of running the risk of your seeds turn out to be useless male plants that do not produce buds. As you might already know, the female plants’ buds are the ones that contain most of the THC and terpenes that provide the psychoactive high and benefits that marijuana has to offer. In other words, the buds are the most important part of the marijuana plant if you want to focus on maximizing profits.

There are two main ways of creating feminized marijuana seeds. The first one is the colloidal silver method, which makes use of a solution with silver particles to force a female marijuana plant to develop pollen sacs, which can be collected to pollinate other female cannabis plants. Meanwhile, the rodelization method relies on the possibility of hermaphrodites arising. Hermaphrodites are female marijuana plants that we’re able to develop male attributes in an attempt to pollinate themselves.

When you use the pollen produced by the pollen sacs you collect from using both of those methods, you will be able to produce feminized seeds because, technically, there is no male marijuana genetics involved in producing those seeds.

2. Appearance

Feminized marijuana plants are similar to regular cannabis plants in terms of overall appearance except for the fact that they are all female. In other words, feminized marijuana seeds are no different from regular cannabis seeds when they turn into full-grown plants. However, of course, they will always turn out to be females except for when some females turn into hermaphrodites.

3. Attributes

Feminized marijuana seeds do not have special attributes that set them apart from regular cannabis seeds except for the fact that they will always turn into female marijuana plants. That means that they are technically the same as regular cannabis seeds. However, feminized marijuana seeds have higher chances of becoming hermaphrodites because of how different environmental stresses and the absence of males tend to force them to turn into hermaphrodites in an attempt to pollinate themselves.

4. Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • They are efficient because they ensure that all your plants will turn out to be bud-producing females.
  • Having no males around means that all your female marijuana plants will be able to focus on developing high-quality cannabis buds.
  • You no longer have to waste a lot of time cultivating seeds that will eventually turn into males, which will require you to use up a lot of effort to get rid of.

Cons:

  • They are bad if you want to produce marijuana seeds or breed newer cannabis strains.
  • If you are planning on creating clones, feminized plants are not the most ideal because of how they have higher risks of turning into hermaphrodites.
  • Hermaphrodism tends to be a common problem when it comes to feminized marijuana seeds.
  • Their genetics are not as stable as those of regular seeds. This means that there is a higher chance that different phenotypes will arise from your feminized marijuana seeds.

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