Choosing A Marijuana Strain, Pt.4: Should I Choose AutoFlowering aka “Autofem” Or Regular Cannabis Seeds?
Here is a list of the pros and cons of purchasing standard marijuana seeds vs. choosing autoflowering feminized (aka “autofem) seeds. I’ve grown standard, feminized, and “autofem” seeds, and have always been satisfied with the results, although I was looking for different characteristics in each case.
Learning about what you can expect from the strain and seed type is key to choosing the right seeds for your grow. Be sure to order our info-packed and fully illustrated eBook on iBooks, the indie publisher “Smashwords” (provides you with all ebook formats”, or – for those of you rightfully concerned about your privacy – our new “Privacy Edition” of the Ebook on the Amazon Kindle.
In this post there are tips for producing more females from of your standard seeds. Yes – there are ways of encouraging cannabis plants to mature into females rather than males. For now, let’s move on to the lists:
The Pros And Cons Of AutoFem (Autoflowering Feminized) Seeds
- A near guarantee that the plant you raise will be a female. Be aware that poor growing conditions and simple genetic chance can cause your plant to develop into a male or hermaphrodite (female plant that produces some male flowers). This is why these seeds are sold as “feminized seeds”, and not “female seeds“! Be sure to have a solid grow plan in place before you start, or you may have a bummer experience with your grow.
- Plants grown from feminized seeds tend to be more consistent in size, flowering time, aroma, etc. If you are after a particular trait (such as a shorter plant for your indoor grow), feminized and autofem seeds increase your chance that this trait will be expressed in the plant.
- No need to change your light schedule to get the plant to flower. Generally you’ll just stick to 18/6 or even 20/4 and the plant takes care of the rest.
- Autoflowering plants are not sensitive to light in the dark phase! This alone may be grounds for you to choose an autofem plant – if you don’t want to invest in a grow box that keeps out ambient light, or just don’t have the space, problem solved. You could theoretically leave the lights on an autofem plant for 24 hours, but not only is a dark period good for root growth, the genetics of some autofem crosses may be sensitive to too long of a light period, so play it safe and go 18/6 or 20/4.
- The consistency in traits described above may not be what you are looking for! Some growers are looking for a special phenotype in a batch of seeds; a heavy producing plant, a plant with a special aroma, or a particularly “bushy” plant to become a clone mother. Standard seeds have a leg up in this department.
- Plants from feminized seeds may grow less vigorously than standard seed plants. A good breeder/seed bank will have been cautious to avoid heavy inbreeding (which leads to weaker plants), but the chances are still better for standard plants bred the “old fashioned way”.
- You can’t clone an autofem plant. Why is this? Well, consider that getting a cloned plant large enough to produce a worthwhile amount of bud requires that you keep it in the vegetative phase for an additional growth period after you cut the clone. With autofem plants, the clock is ticking, so to speak, after the seed sprouts! In 4-6 weeks, that plant will flower, and so would any clones. By the time an autofem plant is big enough to take clones, you probably don’t have another 4 weeks or more to veg the clones to grow them big enough to be worthwhile.
The Pros And Cons Of Standard Seeds
- “Standard” (mixed sex) seeds are almost always less expensive than feminized seeds of the same strain and breeder.
- Gathering pollen from a male plant of the strain of your choice allows you to produce your own seeds, saving you much more money in the long run.
- Standard seeds often grow more vigorously and produce a wider variety of phenotypes. This means that your chances of finding an exceptional plant in your batch of seeds are better. Growers looking for a special mother plant for clones often prefer growing from standard seeds.
- Learning to determine the sex of your plants is an important skill for growers who are interested in more than harvesting some bud. Although smoking weed is not addictive, growing cannabis is addictive – it is a rewarding, fascinating experience that puts marijuana consumers in touch with the source of their smoke of choice. Going with standard seeds gives growers the complete experience.
- Sorting out and removing male plants is not for everyone. If you have limited space and experience, you may be better off starting your first grow with a feminized seed. Concentrate on all the other aspects of growing cannabis properly, and save sexing plants for a later grow.
- If you are growing a single plant for your own use might, you may not be thrilled about the variety of phenotypes that standard seeds will show. The relative consistency of a reputable strain of autofem seeds may be what you are looking for.
- With non-autoflowering seeds, you must be vigilant about keeping the dark phase dark! This means 12 hours of uninterrupted, full dark every day during flowering. The required space and/or expense of a light-tight grow enclosure may not be in your budget.
By using the growing tips in this post you can increase the likelihood of producing female plants from standard seeds.
Before you get started on your grow, get informed! If you’re need help because you’re overwhelmed by cannabis growing jargon, you’re unsure what awaits you during the vegetative and flowering phases, or need help deciding on what grow gear to start with, pick up our information-packed, fully illustrated, and guaranteed-to-improve-your-harvest ebook. It is also available on the Amazon Kindle, the iBooks store, and the new “Stealth Edition” for the Amazon Kindle.