Autoflower vs Feminized – Which Cannabis is For Me?

When you’re considering whether to grow cannabis, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is the autoflowering vs feminized choice. This refers to the two types of cannabis seed. You’ll get autoflowering seeds and feminized seeds. 

Autoflowering seeds grow very quickly and don’t require much maintenance. Feminized seeds need more time devoted to them as well as more experience with handling them. 

The main benefit that you reap with feminized seeds is that when you compare feminized vs autoflower yield, feminized seeds have a higher yield. 

There are many other differences between autoflowering and feminized weed seeds. Once you know all the details, you’ll be in the perfect position to grow your cannabis

In the rest of this article, we’ll show you what you need to know. 

What are Autoflowering Marijuana Plants?

When considering the difference between autoflowering vs feminized cannabis seeds, it helps to know what they are first. So we’ll start with autoflowering seeds.

They’re most often used by growers who are just starting. That’s because the plants will flower without any input from you, hence their name. There are also a few other advantages as well. 

Autoflowering cannabis seeds grow into plants that:

  • Have a quicker harvesting time compared to feminized seeds 
  • Have less complex lighting requirements 
  • Repel pests and resist changes in temperature more easily 
  • Are smaller than feminized seeds, making it easier to store more of them 

To get more specific on some of this, the flowering time for autoflowering seeds is usually within a month of planting, and the total time from planting the seed to harvesting from the plant is a maximum of 12 weeks.

What are Feminized Cannabis Plants?

Now that you know about autoflowering seeds, let’s take a look at feminized vs autoflower seeds. Despite the advantages that autoflowering seeds would seem to have compared to feminized seeds, there are some areas where feminized seeds take the lead. 

No feminized seed will produce a male plant – again, it’s all in the name. This is important because male plants don’t produce cannabis that you can smoke which has high levels of CBD and THC. 

Feminized seeds will grow into cannabis plants that:

  • Give you a much larger yield 
  • Grow bigger than autoflowering plants
  • Allows more potent cannabis to be harvested, which is a big advantage
  • Can be cloned so that you don’t need to get more seeds 

When comparing autoflowering vs feminized seeds, you’ll discover that feminized seeds can require up to 20 weeks to harvest. They also need 12 hours each of light and darkness every 24 hours.

Autoflower vs Feminized: Key Differences

In this section, we’ll walk you through all of the key areas to look at when considering autoflower seeds vs feminized seeds. There’s quite a lot to keep in mind, but we’ve broken it down into 7 sections, and we’ll only tell you what you need to know.

Plant Size

One of the easiest things to observe when comparing autoflowering vs feminized cannabis plants is the size. The height of an autoflowering plant will be small or medium, whereas the height of a feminized plant will be medium or tall.

The reason for this is that strains of autoflowering plants are mixed with another plant called ruderalis. That mixture reduces the height. 

Feminized plants also tend to have fewer leaves on them and more buds. This makes them easier to trim and maintain. As a result, the space you’ll need to grow autoflower vs feminized seeds is different. 

Autoflower vs Feminized_ Key Differences - Plant size

Autoflowering seeds will need less space, and feminized seeds will need more space. That’s something to keep in mind when you’re choosing a location to grow cannabis. 

Despite the extra leafiness of the autoflowering plants, they’ve got the added benefit that the flowers will emerge no matter what. So that’s why they can afford to have more leaves while requiring less maintenance.

Upkeep Requirements

When you look at autoflower vs feminized seeds, another area of attention is the maintenance those plants will need as they’re growing. 

The main advantage of autoflowering cannabis plants is that you don’t have to prune them that often. You can just maintain their climate and then watch as the flowers bloom after a couple of weeks. 

Another key point here is that autoflowering seeds and plants resist pests better, so you won’t be having to deal with that either.  

On the other hand, feminized seeds are much more flexible precisely because of the maintenance they receive. You can use the growth period to apply special methods like topping or scrogging. We’ll cover these in the next section. 


But the bottom line is that if you’re a beginner, stick with autoflowering seeds for now. 

Growth Period From Seed to Harvest

Another important topic to cover when it comes to autoflower vs feminized seeds is the growth period. Autoflowering seeds, once planted, will simply flower regardless of the light they’re given. 

Feminized seeds will not, and instead require the regimented light cycle we mentioned above. 

The time it takes from seed to harvest also varies, and autoflowering plants are the clear winner. They take 8-12 weeks, whereas feminized plants take 12-20 weeks. So if you’re looking for speed, autoflower is the way to go.

There’s another part of the growth cycle that’s relevant when looking at autoflower seeds vs feminized seeds. They’re more amenable to scrogging and topping techniques. Scrogging means pulling the branches into a screen, which opens them up to light and air.

Topping lets the plant get bushier. This is relevant when discussing feminized vs autoflower yield, which we’ll talk about in a while. 

But this is also why we mentioned autoflowering seeds are better for beginners. You don’t have to consider all those extra details.

Vegetative Phase Light Cycle

The light that you give to feminized vs autoflower seeds will vary in this stage, based on several factors. It’s the stage where the roots are developed, and the leaves grow in size. 

Both types need a lot of light during this stage, but autoflowering plants will flower anyway, so long as they get some. So this is why some growers give them 24 hours of light, some 12 hours, and some 18 hours. 

There are a few arguments about which one is best, and there isn’t a clear answer. The best idea is to use autoflowering seeds as a beginner, and test out the lighting arrangement that works best. 

Vegetative stage of the cannabis plant

For feminized seeds, the pattern is much the same, but you’ll need to be disciplined because you can’t rely on them flowering automatically. So if you have this type of seeds, the best idea is to do some extra research on those lighting options we just mentioned.

Flowering Stage Light Cycle

The debate between autoflower seeds vs feminized seeds extends right to the final stage, the flowering. Specifically, how much light there should be. The consensus is that during the flowering stage, your cannabis plants should receive an equal amount of daylight. 

That is to say – 12 hours in the dark, and 12 hours in the light. If you’re growing them outdoors, this can be a challenge because of clouds, rain, and other weather events. So if you’re not confident of getting the right light levels, then grow your plants indoors. 

Flowering stage of a cannabis plant

However, you can give more light than this, and if you do, your plant will grow faster. So if you’re looking for quick results, just add more light. 

But if you’re only using autoflowering seeds, then you can worry less about the specific lighting and focus on other priorities. 

THC Levels

One of the top areas of interest for cannabis smokers when considering autoflower vs feminized seeds is, of course, the THC level. THC is what’s responsible for the powerful highs that come when you use cannabis recreationally. The higher the THC, the more potent the strain.

Usually, autoflowering seeds will produce less THC, and as a result, the cannabis harvested won’t be as strong. You can even look for ones that are bred to be high in THC, but this will take some research. 

Feminized seeds are different. They have higher levels of both THC and CBD, and you can also find custom strains to suit your needs if you’re willing to look around. Because of these elevated levels, the intensity of the effects you experience from smoking feminized cannabis is higher and takes longer to fade. 

Average Yields

The final area to consider when comparing feminized vs autoflower seeds is the average yield. Feminized vs autoflower yield is a simple topic to explore because the answers are not contested.

Autoflowering seeds yield a lower amount of cannabis. Feminized seeds yield a higher amount of cannabis. 

One reason for this is that with autoflowering cannabis plants, you’ll still get some male plants. Like we mentioned at the start of the article, that means a reduced yield. 

Another reason is that autoflowering plants are often used by beginners and aren’t suitable for yield-boosting techniques like the scrogging and topping we covered above. 

Average yields

But feminized seeds are suitable, and that’s why their yield is higher. So the average yield of an autoflowering seed will always be less than the average yield of a feminized seed. 


So there you have it. A definition of both types of seed, and the 7 key areas to focus on when looking into autoflower seeds vs feminized seeds. You should now be in a position to choose the type of seeds you’d like to start growing cannabis with. 

Of course, if you need any more information, you can follow some of the links in the article.

But if you’d like to get started straight away…

Click here to visit I Love Growing Marijuana.