The Seed Fair

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Autoflowering vs Feminized Seeds: What is the Difference & Which is Better?

autoflowering vs feminized

As cannabis becomes more widely available across the US and Canada, many plant lovers are trying out home growing. Although it’s nicknamed “weed”, cannabis can be a finicky plant to grow. However, there are a few kinds of seeds that can help you succeed at growing, no matter your experience level: autoflowering seeds and feminized seeds.

What’s the difference between autoflower and feminized seeds?

autoflower vs feminized comparision infographics
Comparison infographic showcasing the differences between autoflowering and feminized seeds

What are autoflowering seeds?

Autoflower seeds are cannabis seeds that have been specifically bred to flower within a set period of time. Unlike photoperiod plants, where flowering must be induced by changing the light cycle, autoflower cannabis plants switch from vegetative to flowering after a certain amount of time. This means no fiddling with light cycles to switch plant phases – autoflower seeds bloom (as the name suggests) automatically.

Another benefit of using autoflower seeds is that all autoflowers are feminized, greatly reducing your chances of getting a male plant.

Benefits of autoflower seeds:

  • Automatic change from vegetative growth to flowering phase
  • Easy for new growers to use
  • No changing light cycles to induce flowering
  • Wide genetic diversity of strains to choose from
  • Autoflower seeds are feminized.
a big autoflower crop
OG Kush autoflower in its early flowering stage

What are feminized seeds?

Feminized cannabis seeds reduce the chances of getting a male seed to almost zero. Male cannabis seeds produce pollen sacks instead of trichome-rich flowers. The definition of feminized seeds are those that have been bred to produce only female plants. 

With feminized seeds, you’re 99% guaranteed to get a female plant, so you don’t have to worry about how to identify a female seed, or having a male plant contaminating your grow room and reducing your harvest yield. You can buy feminized seeds for the easiest experience, but if you want to know how to feminize seeds, we can help with that too.

  • 99% guaranteed to get a female plant
  • No sexing plants
  • No contamination of harvest from pollination
  • Wife genetic diversity of strains to choose from
  • Easy for new growers to use
og kush feminized plants in the early flowering
These are OG Kush feminized crops in the early flowering

The difference between autoflower and feminized seeds

All autoflower seeds are feminized, but not all feminized seeds are autoflowers – many of them are photoperiod plants. To determine if feminized seeds vs autoflowers are better for your home-grow, here’s what you need to know.

Which type of seed is better for you is a personal decision, as evidenced by this polling of 500 cannabis growers, who were fairly split between autoflower and feminized seeds.

the pool on different types of seeds growers prefer
Interpreting the collected data suggests a preference lean toward both seed types equally within the cannabis cultivation community This implies versatility or context specific usage since autoflower seeds offer shorter growth cycles and less reliance on light schedules while feminized seeds ensure nearly all female plants maximizing potential bud yield Industry trends support these findings indicating growers value both traits for different cultivation strategies


The potency of your cannabis plant depends on a few factors:

  • Strain genetics
  • Grow room environment
  • Harvesting time
  • Curing and drying process
  • Storage

If you want a potent harvest, look for seeds of potent strains and start there. But genetics aren’t everything – even the dankest strain of OG Kush won’t be potent if the conditions in the grow room are wrong. Under the proper growing conditions, with the right lights, stable temperatures, plenty of airflows, and humidity, autoflower seeds can grow flowers just as potent as feminized seeds can.

To maximize the potency of your harvest, feed your plants well, give them plenty of light and water, and keep the air moving.


Because autoflowers are on a set timeline, autoflowers can produce smaller plants with smaller yields than feminized seeds. However, with the right care (such as low-stress training and topping) and plenty of light (up to 20 hours a day) autoflower yields can still be sizable.

Autoflower seeds grown indoors will typically yield between a half and full ounce of flower per plant.

Indoor-grown feminized seeds have a wider range of yield potential depending on the strain, but you can typically expect several ounces per plant. Many of our feminized seeds can grow up to 500 grams per square meter of plant space indoors.

Plant size and visual appearance

Feminized seeds may change in appearance depending on whether the genetics lean more indica or sativa. Cannabis sativa plants are the tallest, with thin, finger-like leaves. Sativa plants can grow up to 20 feet tall in the right conditions, though most grow rooms are not big enough to accommodate this. Indica plants are shorter than sativa, typically maxing out around six feet tall with bushier leaves.

Autoflower seeds are made by breeding cannabis indica and sativa plants with a third variety, cannabis ruderalis. This variety of cannabis evolved in cold climates, which is why it is the only autoflowering variety. But the ruderalis genetics are also the shortest of the cannabis plants and most only reach between 2 and 5 feet tall.

Can you tell the difference between an autoflower seed and a feminized one during growing? Observe the plant as it grows. Autoflowers are shorter and bushier and will automatically begin flowering after around 3 months. 

autoflower vs feminized comparison in size and appearance
Comparison of size and appearance between autoflower and feminized strains

Flowering Time

The biggest difference between autoflower seeds and photoperiod feminized seeds is how long the plants take to reach the flowering stage.

Autoflower cannabis seeds are bred with the cannabis ruderalis plant, the only autoflowering form of cannabis. The plants will automatically begin to flower between 8 and 12 weeks, depending on the strain type. Autoflowers do this automatically, so there’s no need for you to change the light cycle.

All autoflower seeds are feminized, but not all feminized seeds are autoflowers. If you have photoperiod feminized seeds, they may begin to flower as early as 10 weeks or up to 16 weeks, depending on the strains. However, with photoperiod feminized seeds, you will need to change the light cycle in order to switch the plants from the vegetative to flowering phase.

Harvesting Time

Autoflower seeds grow quickly, typically reaching maturity in as little as 3 months. Feminized photoperiod seeds take longer to mature into flowering and must be induced to do so. Despite these differences, the cues for when to harvest an autoflower are similar for a feminized plant.

Look for developed, cloudy trichomes and slight browning pistils to indicate that your plant is ready for harvest. 

Required space

You don’t need a lot of space to grow cannabis plants, but you need more space to grow feminized seeds than autoflowers.

If you have a small space, consider growing autoflower vs feminized indoors. Autos flower on a set timeline and don’t typically grow as tall as their photoperiod counterparts. A small 4×4 space is enough to grow one or two autoflower plants and pot size for an autoflower is smaller than many photoperiod strains.

You can also grow feminized seeds in a small space if that’s all you have available, but look for genetics that are shorter and bushier, rather than taller. Many photoperiod plants will grow as large as the space and lights allow for.

Cultivation process

The difference in cultivation for marijuana seeds feminized vs autoflowering is less than you may think. Both types of seeds require a big enough pot space, ample exposure to a light spectrum, air circulation, proper humidity, and feeding.

Autoflowering plants has a shorter cultivation time and requires fewer feedings.

Autoflower vs Feminized: Which is better?

Neither type of seed is inherently better: feminized vs autoflower seeds comes down to which type better suits your needs.

Are you looking for the simplest cultivation method that doesn’t require timers and changing light cycles? Opt for autoflower seeds and focus your time on low-stress training to increase your yield. With autoflowers, there’s less movement from planter to planter and no need to worry about when to induce flowering.

But if you enjoy the attention to detail that photoperiod plants require during each phase of their life cycle, growing feminized seeds is a better choice. With feminized seeds, you can maximize the potential of the plant during each phase of its life cycle and induce flowering at the right time to get the largest harvest possible. 

Growers who prefer feminized seeds do so because of the increased control over the grow cycle and the higher yield potential.

advantages of feminized seeds over autoflowers - THE SEED FAIR poll
Participants value both the control over the growth cycle and higher potential yields equally Predictable growth patterns are also significant to cultivators implying an appreciation for consistency

Growers who preferred autoflower seeds did so because they grow faster and are easier to manage during their life cycle.

s of autoflower seeds
The data reflects the cannabis cultivation communitys views on autoflowering seeds indicating that ease of cultivation and faster growth cycles are perceived as primary benefits


There are several factors that can determine if autoflowering vs feminized seeds are better for your home grow, including your grow space, growing experience, and comfortability with changing light cycles. While there are many similarities between autoflower vs feminized seeds, their differences are key to setting yourself up for success.

FAQ section

What is the downside to feminized seeds?

There is no downside to using feminized seeds vs autoflower. Some growers are concerned about hermaphroditism, but this happens due to stress on the plant rather than feminized genetics. Some growers are also concerned about genetic stability, but there are hundreds of strains of feminized seeds to choose from.

What are the disadvantages of autoflower seeds?

Autoflowers tend to be smaller than their photoperiod counterparts and this can result in a smaller yield size. However, their smaller stature also makes them a great option for growers with limited spaces.

Do Autoflowers produce female seeds?

Yes, autoflower cannabis plants produce female seeds because autoflower plants have been feminized.