The best place to start when looking to grow your own cannabis is, appropriately, with the seeds. There are currently three different categories of marijuana seed to choose from: regular, feminized and autoflowering. Each option comes with its own unique benefits and drawbacks. So, which should you choose? It all depends on how much growing experience you have, your growing location, desired flowering time, and desired yield. Here we'll take a look at the differences - and determine how to help you make the right decision.
Regular Cannabis Seeds
Regular cannabis seeds are your standard, run-of-the mill, plant seed. They are not optimized in any way by genetic engineering to make anything about the grow process work differently than it would in nature. As such, they are generally the easiest to come across. Some experienced growers recommend this type of seed to beginners for two reasons: First, because rookie mistakes that nearly everyone makes as part of the learning process shouldn’t be done with expensive seed types. Second, because it gives the first-time grower a better sense of the full cycle of growth and the kind of care that the plant needs.
Regular seeds are also critical in the process of creating new strains as well as in crossbreeding.
The downside here, on top of having none of the shortcutting properties of the other two seed types, is that regular seeds are only slightly more likely (roughly 60%) to produce a female plant over a male plant. Male plants are undesirable and need to be discarded if what you are looking for is a crop of consumable flowers. This means that 40% of your plants will have to be discarded after months of growth.
Note, however, that the 60% figure is an average. Depending on growing conditions, you may get 80-100% male plants. Be sure to check your grow room regularly and do your research to ensure the best possible results.
Feminized Cannabis Seeds
There is no deception in the name of this seed type. As implied, feminized seeds are meant to entirely eliminate the possibility of producing male plants. This means that growers who upgrade from regular seeds should no longer expect to discard the 40% of the plants that naturally turn out to be male.
While feminized seeds are an upgrade compared to their regular counterparts, they still require all of the same care and specific growing conditions, and should not be mistaken for their autoflowering counterparts (which are also often feminized).
You should also know that any female marijuana plant that is prevented from becoming fertilized will produce flowers without seeds. Seedless cannabis flowers are what the majority of growers prefer.
Autoflowering Cannabis Seeds
The easiest to use, and obviously most popular with beginner growers, autoflowering seeds don’t require the same level of complexity of care as the other seed options in order to provide a bountiful crop. Marijuana seeds generally need specific cycles of time and lighting in order to move from the germination stage to the harvest stage properly. Autoflowering seeds remove these requirements and allow the plants to produce up to two harvests in a summer.
Autoflowering marijuana seeds have the added advantage of growing shorter than their counterparts, usually 30 to 60 centimeters (12 to 23 inches). This is especially important for legal growth that carries a plant height limit.
Read next: Maximizing Autoflowering Cannabis Growth