The difference between regular and feminized cannabis seeds – Which should you grow?

Male and female sign and cannabis plants against the black background

With the general hype surrounding the relatively recent developments of feminized and autoflowering seeds, you’d be forgiven for maybe thinking that regular cannabis seeds are somehow less exciting. You’d also be wrong. Regular seeds contain endless possibilities for growers to experiment with.

In the beginning of Sensi Seeds, and therefore the European cannabis seed industry, a seed was a seed. Now, we use the name ‘regular cannabis seeds’ to distinguish the originals from feminized cannabis seeds and autoflowering cannabis seeds. Both of these types are relatively recent developments when you consider that cannabis has been cultivated by humans for thousands of years.

Regular cannabis seeds are produced when a male cannabis plant pollinates a female cannabis plant. Male pollen is released from ripe pollen sacs and blown by the wind (or carried by the careful hand of a breeder) until it finds the receptive stigmas in female flowers. Pollination results in hundreds, if not thousands, more regular cannabis seeds which will all in turn produce either male or female cannabis plants.

Can you see the difference between regular and feminized cannabis seeds?

Stacked cannabis seeds against white background

Feminized cannabis seeds look exactly the same as regular cannabis seeds, whether male or female. But inside their modest brown husks there’s a crucial difference. Feminized cannabis seeds lack male chromosomes, whereas regular cannabis seeds contain the full complement of genetics that enable them to be either male or female.

This is also why feminized seeds must always be referred to by that name – they aren’t truly female, and therefore cannot be sold as such. Watch out for seeds described as ‘100% female’, as this is nothing more than a marketing ploy!

The main advantage for growers who choose feminized cannabis seeds is that they don’t have to identify or remove male plants which would cause pollination. Unless the gardener desires more seeds, rather than buds, this is an essential part of the cultivation process.

Automatic, or autoflowering, cannabis seeds are even easier. Not only are they feminized, they do not rely on a change in lighting cycles to trigger flowering. So what are the advantages of regular cannabis seeds?

What are regular cannabis seeds used for?

There are two main purposes for regular cannabis seeds, aside from the usual and most common one of simply growing buds.

  1. The first is breeding. Selective crossings of one cultivar with another has been taking place since the earliest days of agriculture, with all types of plant life. Sometimes this is to maximise the yield of whatever crop the plant produces which is desired by the people growing it; sometimes it’s just for fun and experimentation.

Whatever the intention of the breeding is, it’s best to begin with all the genetic material in order to give the new cross the best possible chance of success, rather than missing the chromosomes that are absent in feminized cannabis seeds.

  1. The second use for regular cannabis seeds is the one that was, before the advent of feminized seeds, most commonly used to produce crops of uniform cannabis plants without any males among them. This technique is called cloning. Just as with breeding, it’s best done with plants that have their full set of chromosomes, and all the robust qualities that go with that.
Male and female cannabis seedlings

From a crop grown from regular cannabis seeds, the best female plants are selected to become ‘mothers’ – so called because with loving care, they can produce potentially hundreds of ‘children’ over the space of several years. The clones that are taken from these mother plants are tiny replicas down to the last scrap of genetic material – including their female sex.

Why do Sensi Seeds still produce regular cannabis seeds?

There are many seedbanks which only carry feminized cannabis seeds. This has become more common as seedbanks themselves have become more common. With the growing awareness (pun intended) of the advantages of feminized seeds, the question of why Sensi Seeds still carries regular cannabis seeds is quite a reasonable one!

The overall answer is simple, and one which anyone familiar with Sensi Seeds will probably have heard before: we want to bring the joy of cannabis to as many people as possible. That’s not limited to simply selling seeds.

We’re confident in our genetics, we’re confident in our service, and we’re confident in our customers. That means giving everyone the broadest range of options possible. This could be taking the simplest route to a crop of buds, which for most people is automatic seeds. But it could be experimenting with creating a unique cross of their very own, using our genetics as the building blocks.

We have quite often been asked if it’s possible to do all the things that can be done with regular cannabis seeds using feminized seeds.

The short answer is, you can try. There’s no reason you shouldn’t attempt to breed, or create a mother plant, using feminized cannabis seeds. However, it’s our firm belief that these practices are more likely to succeed using plants grown from regular cannabis seeds.

Tell us what you think

Have you experimented with regular cannabis seeds? Do you think feminized cannabis seeds are a boon to the grower? Would you be sad to see regular cannabis seeds leave our selection, or do you think they are a thing of the past? Let us know in the comments!

  • Disclaimer:
    Laws and regulations regarding cannabis cultivation differ from country to country. Sensi Seeds therefore strongly advises you to check your local laws and regulations. Do not act in conflict with the law.


34 thoughts on “The difference between regular and feminized cannabis seeds – Which should you grow?”

  1. Hello,
    I’m a newbie at this – and I’m growing a few different plants.
    I am having a blast with all of this fun stuff –
    I didn’t know anything about seeds females/ males or feminized and auto flowering until this year.
    But I am really enjoying this adventure.
    I really like and appreciate your posts and blog for learning new things about all of the different seeds and processing/ cultivation. You have given me some good info and great explanations on the differences between regular and all other seeds – which is definitely good info for a newbie thank you 👍

      1. sensi seeds offers some regular seeds . however i do not understand why seedbanks do not offer more regular seeds? is it because they think people will use them to breed or create mother plants ? its probably the reason as i see it . seedbanks want to make money selling feminised seeds and they would not do that if regular seeds were offered for all varieties. whereever you look on the internet the newest strains are only offered as feminised seed. I think it is great that sensi sells so many regular strains however i wish everything was available .

      2. Tim - Sensi Seeds

        In all honesty… The market is just too small and niche compared to the demographic for feminized and autoflowers. Feminized plants are a lot more accessible for hobbyists. That’s the main reason why it is less interesting for seedbanks to spend resources into regular strains.

  2. Good day hooter heads from around the world from Australia,due to the economic climate from covd & most govt recognising the money in pot,we won’t have to go to such length,s sneaking about like outcasts,the med uses for this versatile plant have saved the day,the war on drugs is a hoax,if it wasn’t the hard drug crops Afghan, Thailand opium would of been eradicated,like south America,s coke industry..I think govt,big corp are scammers.

  3. Stuart Growden

    I like feminized seeds but I have used regular seeds and they both grow just as well and have the same potency. Some people like feminized over regular seeds but it doesn’t make a difference except that you might get a male instead of a female but you can use that male to get hundreds more seeds and cross breed them with other plants and get different types of plants. Thank You!!!

  4. For breeding for the rare Cannabinoids you really need to use selfing like is used for feminized seed production. I speak from experience being the very first to commercialize using STS, I did not make and sell feminized seeds I bred varieties that had a single Cannabinoid, for each of the less common Cannabinoids, like CBC, CBG, THCV, CBDV, CBCV, CBGV each in very high amounts and with close to zero other Cannabinoids. This can not be done with regular seed breeding. And male genes as found in regular seeds do not produce better plants for growing or breeding, I think maybe you do not understand plant genetics for Cannabis which is a Dioecious obligate outcrosser.

  5. Why no mention of hermaphroditism? That is not only How you breed then but ultimately also the biggest flaw and why producing fems is really polluting the gene pool.

    Hermaphroditism should be a recissive gene, but your breeding requires it to be a dominant trait. It’s like finding people with dodgy heart conditions or baldness (typical recessive traits that can skip generations) breeding them so everyone goes bald and has a bad heart.

    But hey the market wants what the market so u gotta sell what people buy.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Tan,

      This article is intended for our readers who are new to cannabis seeds and, as the title says, focuses on the difference in results rather than the difference in the techniques that produce the seeds. In previous decades, creating feminized seeds was indeed reliant on finding lines with pronounced hermaphroditic tendencies, but thanks to improvements in breeding technology this is no longer the case.

      With best wishes,


      1. Improvements? like what? using silverfiosulphate instead of gibberalic acid?

        Im not familiar with this “new” technique that does not require one parent to be hermaphrodite….I read arjens blog but that explains even less.

        what exactly is this new technique? how does one create fem seeds without hermies?

        FYI selecting strains more resistant to hermie, that require excessive amounts of stress to turn, is not new.

  6. Dr Seth Highbrendel

    No!!! the disparition of regular seeds would be a disaster and I don’t understand the Auto flowering for me it’s a non sense, it is my personal opinion.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi there,

      Fear not, we have no intention of removing regular seeds from our catalogue; they are the backbone of our gene library! Regarding our autoflowering strains, they are of great benefit to people who have limited resources in terms of time, energy, experience, and / or space, for whom cultivating regular or even feminized seeds would be out of reach.

      With best wishes,


    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, legal restrictions on exporting cannabis seeds mean that they cannot be sent to Canada; we wish it wasn’t so, but it is!

      With best wishes,


  7. I believe regular seeds Are The seeds. Feminidad and autoflowering Are productos Or decides to Get Buds.
    My blessings to tour effort and hope one Day I Will ser My seed baño with My full range Of seeds. We need The cannacopea.

  8. Ray Jackson

    I to agree with the good parts of regular seeds. Also your buds are generally bigger too. Once you have a selection of females it’s time to CLONE!! More fun !
    Then one more fun thing is to develop your own breed! Cross your favorite.
    I’m just sad you don’t sell to the U.S.. If you change your mind if like to show you some of my cross breeding. And to acquire more seed stocks. Having fun is most important.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Ray,

      Thank you for your comment 🙂 We wish that our seeds could be sent to the US, but legal restrictions prevent this – as soon as this situation changes, our policies will change too! In the meantime, I hope that you continue to enjoy the blog.

      With best wishes,


  9. Christian Gaines

    Long Live Regular Photo Period Seeds!!!!!

    Did I catch a recommendation to use only reg seeds for a Mother? Please explain. Ive been growing out a FPOG Mother from fem seeds. Will she clone out ok?

    Thanks Y’all!!!!!! 1LUV

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Christian,

      Unfortunately, legal restrictions mean we can’t answer grow related questions or give grow advice on this blog. However, we do have the Sensi Seeds Forum where you can ask questions and share your experiences with a thriving community of cannabis and gardening enthusiasts, so please don’t hesitate to join the community!

      With best wishes,


  10. I can’t comment as I’m new to all this but just wanted to say I’m really enjoying reading the e mails that come through to me to help me learn in my journey so they aren’t a waste off time, keep them coming ❤️

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Jo,

      Thanks for your comment, I hope you continue to enjoy the newsletter emails and the blog! If you haven’t yet discovered the Sensi Seeds Forum , you can visit it to ask questions and share your experiences with a thriving community of cannabis and gardening enthusiasts, so please don’t hesitate to join the community!

      With best wishes,


  11. Please do not stop selling regular seeds. Given there is still much to learn about this plant, there is the possibility that male plants can still serve good purpose. If not for breeding, perhaps for providing medicine in it’s raw form.

  12. Sharon E. LaLond

    Very interesting article!!! Recently I cleaned out my bedroom closet and I have always had a habit of stashing things, like nuggets, money and special seeds. So I was wondering what I should do with these healthy old (10-15 yrs.) seeds. They have been kept in a dark cool place and I am quite sure they are still good!! Any ideas???

  13. David Schiemann

    I love growing weed. Only buy regular seeds. Like to create new hybrids. WOULD BE VERY SAD if sensi seeds stops selling them!

  14. carsten pehrsson

    Hi Sensi seeds..

    I have been growing your seeds for some years now, some with suces some not made for Denmark.. Like Mexican Sativa and Jamaican Pearl, wich I told you about last year..

    I think it is a good idear that you keep regular seeds within your shop..

    If you need any strains wich is well adaptet for Scandinavian clima, I have some strains form back in 1980`tees or earlyer, please let me know.. I would love to se `my` strains in your shop, for the bennefit off growers i `Cold` clima..

    Danich Delight with thc 21-24% and 1-2% cbd is my favorite for +30 years, , Sativa dominant,, Would be nice to se this strain in a compatition with Northeren Light, in grow , yield and thc/cbd.. give it a try and you would be suprised.. Or Libanon wich is growing well in Denmark.. and 5-6 other strains..
    If you wanth pictures for late summer/autum let med know..

    Best regards Carten..

  15. Les Mooring

    Been growing for oever 40 years…regular seeds were the mainstay for years..but I really do like feminized and for the very first time I tried an auto flower…I was impressed to say the least. I know regular seeds have to remain to keep diversity alive but feminized and auto flower are a boon to some .

  16. Hello,

    For God’s sake, please let the regular seeds for sale.

    Feminised is quite ok.
    And that there are strong ruderalis genes, so be it.

    In my opinion, only regular seeds are real seeds.

    And please do not think about CRISPR / Cas !!!

    Thank you very much.

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    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
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