To further understand what growing marijuana is about, you need to learn what makes cannabis regular, feminized and auto-flowering. What are regular seeds? What makes feminized auto-flowering cannabis seeds better? This comparison will help you out.
The appearance of the seeds
Hold these different seeds on your hands and you will see that there are no differences. You will still have rounded, smooth (sometimes oily) seeds with dark colors ranging from brown to black to blue. Hold one in your hand and press on it. All these seeds are hard and will never open even if you press on them.
When the seeds finally sprout, the tap roots will orient themselves and burry to the ground. Round leaves will first emerge and then finally leaves with serrated edges.
The growing phase of regular, feminized and auto-flowering seeds begin almost at the same time although there are some small differences depending on what strain you are trying to grow.
When it comes to nutrients, regular, feminized and auto-flowering plants require nitrogen-rich fertilizer feedings to stimulate leaf, stem and branch growth during the vegetative stage. But during the flowering stage, everything changes. These plants will now focus on growing buds improving yields. These will now need fertilizer feedings rich in phosphorous and potassium.
When it comes to lighting, any kind of lighting schedule is okay as long as your plants get adequate amounts of darkness as well. The type of lighting matters since light = growth in cannabis plants. Using an 18 hour light and 6-hour darkness is the best schedule but some growers also recommend a full 24/0 lighting schedule for total light exposure.
As you can see there is hardly any difference between the three during the initial stages of a plant’s growth. But it won’t take long because the flowering stage will soon reveal the main differences between these three types of cannabis strains.
Regular seeds are also called photoperiod strains and this means that these plants will only flower once it senses that the day is getting shorter and the nights are getting colder. This can be naturally stimulated as you just let your plants flower on its own but this can take a while.
This is why growers expose their plants to a special lighting schedule that has 12 hour light and 12 hour darkness to stimulate flowering. Feminized and regular strains are subjected to this lighting schedule until the plants have grown flowers and until the time the plants are ready for harvest.
When it comes to auto-flowering plants, it’s a totally different thing. These plants will flower according to their natural schedule and not according to any light schedule. Usually, this happens very quickly with auto strains flowering as early as 5 weeks to as long as 9 weeks. This is still quicker than the flowering times of other photoperiod strains.
Size, height, stretch, yields
The size of the plant depends on its strain. If the regular or feminized strain is sativa-dominant then expect a taller plant with larger leaves. Indica-dominant regular or feminized strains are smaller and bushier with smaller leaves and buds.
Meanwhile, auto-flowering cannabis is usually small and has a compact structure. This is because of the natural appearance of ruderalis strains which are known as the smallest cannabis strains. These plants are perfect for growing indoors and for stealth growing because of their small and compact sizes.
When it comes to yields, it depends on the type of strain you want to grow. Generally, sativa strains grow the longest but grow the best yields. Indica strains will grow faster than sativa strains but will only provide moderate yields. On the other hand, ruderalis/autoflowering strains grow the fastest and are the least productive.
But thanks to diligent breeding, growers and breeders have developed better and more productive strains. There are now regular indica strains that can provide high yields, even better than some sativa strains.
You may also find auto-flowering strains that can produce higher yields per plant although the structure of the plant remains small and compact.
No need to remove males
When you are using regular seeds you are unsure as to whether you are growing male or female plants so your tendency is to grow more plants to compensate. You will need to take care of your “mystery” plants until the flowering time when they will display their genders finally.
Regular male plants will grow balls or sacs along the junctions between the stems and branches. When these sacs or balls ripen, you will get pollen which can fertilize your female plants. Meanwhile, females will grow soft wispy flowers called pistils. These pistils will receive the pollen and will soon grow seeds.
Growers discard the male plants because they only need unfertilized females to grow marijuana.
When you use feminized seeds, you get plants that will grow into female plants. No need to guess your plant’s genders or wait until flowering time. You won’t have to discard the males and waste money, effort and time growing plants you don’t need.
Meanwhile, some autoflowering cannabis seeds are also feminized seeds so there’s no need to deal with male plants come flowering time. You simply have to provide the best growing environment and the rest is simply up to your plants.
The harvesting time of regular, feminized and auto-flowering plants is determined by the type of strain and the readiness of the plants. Usually, growers use special techniques to identify if the plant is ready to harvest: trichome clarity, pistil color and the flowering time of the strain all tell clues if the plants are ready.
The cost of the seeds
Regular cannabis seeds are the least expensive. Usually, there are deals and discounts for customers to buy regular seeds because most growers prefer feminized or autoflowering seeds. Meanwhile, feminized autoflowering cannabis seeds are among the most expensive and the most in demand. It may be hard to find this type of seeds as well.