What is the difference between feminized seeds and regular

Last updated: 6 August 2020

feminized seeds vs regular

When it comes to choosing a cannabis strain to grow, especially when preparing for your first experience in marijuana cultivation, it’s crucial to be acquainted with at least the basic terms of this industry. In this article, we’re going to start with “feminized” and “regular”, two of the many words used to describe specific types of weed strains. Even if it’s your first time on our website or for looking for marijuana seeds in general, you’ve most probably already heard of these terms before, as they represent two huge subcategories of cannabis seeds. Without further ado, let’s learn the meaning behind them and find out what exactly the difference is between feminized and regular cannabis seeds.

Feminized Vs. Regular: Definition

If you’ve come here asking yourself “Should I buy feminized seeds or regular seeds?”, let’s first learn what these terms mean and what the main differences are between these two seed types.

What Are Regular Cannabis Seeds?

regular seeds vs feminized

Regular cannabis seeds are seeds that grow to become approximately 50% male and 50% female plants. Usually, marijuana plants with male flowers are used for breeding and creating new hybrids. For an ordinary grower who’s not going to engage in crossbreeding, but only wants to harvest a yield of potent and smokeable buds, male plants are of no interest and can be destroyed. Thus, some growers compare planting regular seeds with a game of Russian roulette. In theory, regular cannabis seeds can grow to become female plants in their majority or vice versa. Thus, there really is a certain element of luck in planting regular seeds even if, as a rule, the number of girls and boys in one batch of seeds is balanced.

Feminized Seeds: What Are They?

feminized seeds vs regular

Feminized cannabis seeds are seeds that have a 99% chance of growing into a female plant. As you may already know, it is from the female marijuana plants that you can get the so-called sinsemilla – cannabis buds that have matured but haven’t been fertilized by a male plant. The unfertilized flowers of female marijuana plants form into dense resinous buds, so prized by cannabis lovers because they’re the part of the weed plant containing the highest level of THC. These are the buds we smoke, use for making edibles, concentrates, and so on.

Each cannabis variety can be either regular or feminized. If in the past seed banks used to only produce regular strains, the feminization of seeds has now become more common than ever, and today, many breeders even prioritize the creation of fems due to the great demand for female plants. However, we can’t say that feminized seeds are better than regular ones, since both of these types have their advantages and disadvantages. Each grower chooses what to cultivate based on their previous experiences, future goals, current growing conditions, etc.

Choosing A Regular Or A Feminized Strain For Growing

Now that we’ve learned what feminized and regular seeds are, let’s review them from the point of cultivation. When it comes to growing regular seeds vs. feminized seeds, what should you consider in the first place? Let’s find out.

Growing Regular Strains

First of all, regular cannabis varieties are more resilient than feminized ones. Hence, they are easier to grow and deal with stress better. The probability of them turning into hermaphrodites (developing both male and female flowers) is also much lower.

difference between feminized and regular seeds

Despite being unpretentious, regular marijuana seeds require some experience to cultivate and successfully bring to maturity. In particular, it’s necessary to carefully “sex” the plants growing from regular seeds, meaning to monitor for any signs of a male plant appearing, and if it does, to discard these plants immediately. Otherwise, a single male plant can fertilize an entire garden and leave its grower without a harvest.

On the flip side, that’s exactly what you want if the goal of your cultivation is breeding, making hybrids, or just getting more seeds. Regular seeds are always the way to go if you want to create your own strain or experiment with breeding, because it’s nearly impossible to do this with feminized plants that don’t grow into male plants necessary for breeding purposes.

Due to the lower cost of production of regular cannabis seeds, they are normally cheaper than the feminized ones. Usually, this compensates for the losses associated with culling the boys.

non feminized seeds

Growing Feminized Strains

Of course, the biggest advantage of feminized cannabis seeds for a casual grower is that they don’t require sexing – a procedure that takes some experience to perform efficiently. However, when under stress, feminized cannabis plants are more prone to turning into hermaphrodites, which also puts the whole garden in danger of unwanted pollination. Sex formation in cannabis plants begins when they grow their third pair of leaves, and it continues for 3 weeks after that. At this time, it’s important to carefully monitor the conditions the girls are in, because if the plants are under stress, they can develop both male and female flowers or, as we already noted, turn hermie. The stress factors for fem plants include overfertilization or poorly chosen fertilizers, as well as rapid changes in light and temperature conditions. To avoid stressing your feminized plants, you therefore need to follow some simple rules:

  • Don’t let the soil dry out
  • Don’t let the plants overheat (under temperatures higher than +28C/82F)
  • Don’t switch light cycles too quickly
  • Follow the directions for all fertilizers you use

feminized vs regular seeds

Of course, this doesn’t mean that feminized seeds are too difficult to grow – it’s just that you need to monitor conditions of your plants, especially during weeks 3-4 of your grow, to ensure the girls will definitely not turn into hermaphrodites. 

On the bright side, cannabis grown from feminized marijuana seeds has great homogeneity rates – that is, the similarity of the plants of one strain between each other, which is expressed through the same properties and productivity of each bush. Hence, when choosing to grow from feminized seeds, you will know exactly how each plant is going to perform. 

How To Tell The Difference Between Feminized And Regular Seeds

feminized seeds vs regular

If you receive seeds from an unknown source, there is unfortunately no way to tell the difference between the two types of seeds just by looking at them. You’ll have to plant them, keep under a schedule of >12h light a day, and follow the development of the plant. If the bud sites don’t start forming in a month or so, and if the plant is growing rapidly, it was probably a regular seed. Switch it to a 12/12 light cycle to induce flowering.

Regular Vs. Feminized Bud: Is There A Difference?

Now that we know about the differences between growing feminized and regular seeds, it’s time to talk about the smoking experience. When it comes to the final product, the potent and resinous buds we all love so much, there’s a long and ongoing debate over the difference between cannabis buds grown from feminized seeds and regular ones.

regular seeds vs feminized

Some growers think that feminized plants might be leading the race. In their opinion, fem marijuana buds are more potent, which is usually expressed in a higher level of THC compared to regular versions of the same weed variety. This means the effects of feminized marijuana will be stronger and more pronounced, and the same with their taste and aroma.

On the other hand, we have marijuana purists who claim that regular varieties are naturally richer in THC, as well as in their variety of effects and flavors. However, today, manufacturers are constantly working on improving their strains, both regular and feminized, so in many cases, the difference between varieties will not be so noticeable, and will mostly depend on the characteristics of each particular strain.

Regular Seeds Vs. Feminized Seeds: To Each Their Own

Let’s sum up everything we’ve learned today. Are regular seeds better than feminized? Not necessarily! Should you always choose feminized over regular seeds? Again, not really. When choosing your next seed to grow, think of your goals, expectations, and experience. Only after considering everything will you be able to decide for yourself. Remember, no matter what you choose, you’ll still have a great time growing and learning. If you’ve already made up your mind, let us know in the comments below: what do you prefer when it comes to feminized vs. regular seeds?

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I've got regular seeds from several landrace strains. Is it possible that they could all be males and therefore a waste of time
Hello Tate,Thank you for your feedback. Indeed, it is theoretically possible, but most likely it won't be 10 out of 10 males. Regular strains are also good if you want to make more seeds for future use or if you want to crossbreed the strains
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