What Is autoflowering cannabis? Autoflowering refers to a type of cannabis plant that begins to flower automatically, without the need for a change in light cycle. This is in contrast to traditional cannabis strains, which require a specific light cycle (usually 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness) in order to begin the flowering stage.
Autoflowering cannabis varieties automatically switch from vegetative growth to the flowering stage based on age, as opposed to the ratio of light to dark hours required with photoperiod dependent/short-day strains.
Autoflowering cannabis seeds produce plants that flower on their own after 2–4 weeks of growth. Growers don’t need to worry about switching the light schedule to initiate and maintain the flowering phase, like they would if growing feminized photoperiod cannabis.
Autoflowers also need much less time to grow. Some varieties are ready to harvest in a short 8 weeks after sprouting. Plus, autoflowers are compact, which makes them great for indoor growing. Because they are so convenient, autoflowers are (not just) ideal for beginners to cannabis cultivation. More experienced growers can also take advantage of the unique growing traits of autoflowering cannabis.
Non-Photoperiod Strains: What Does It Mean?
Feminized (photoperiod) cannabis plants flower depending on the hours of light they receive. Out in nature, they start to bloom when the days get shorter at the end of summer. Indoors, cultivators initiate flowering by adjusting their grow lights to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.
In contrast, autoflowering strains flower based on age, independent of light hours, which means they are non-photoperiod strains. Autoflowers have several noteworthy characteristics:
- Plants flower automatically after 2–4 weeks.
- The average period between planting and harvest is 10 weeks.
- Autoflowering seeds are also feminized. No need to worry about male plants.
- Plants stay small (30–100cm).
- They don’t attract too much attention. Ideal for stealthy grows.
- You can harvest several crops per season.
Particularities of Autoflowers
The autoflowers that first appeared on the market in the early 2000s didn’t really impress. They weren’t very potent, their aroma was lacking, and their yields were not great either.
But autoflowers have come a long way since then. Modern autoflowers rival feminized photoperiod strains (and some even surpass them) in terms of potency, yield, and aroma. Yet, they still provide the same great benefits as mentioned above, along with having a reputation for being particularly stable and sturdy.
These days, autoflowers can satisfy even the most demanding of users: Recreational users won’t have difficulties finding automatic varieties rich in THC, and holistic users can get autoflowers low in THC but high in CBD to benefit from the non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
How Are Autoflowering Plants Created?
Autoflowering strains are created by crossbreeding indica or sativa plants with ruderalis. Ruderalis is a wild subtype of cannabis that grows in regions where the summer is very short but features many hours of daylight (e.g. Northern Europe or Siberia). These plants have evolved to not rely on daylight hours to flower, instead flowering according to age.
- Ruderalis on its own isn’t too useful: Its buds won’t produce a high, and the plants are small with low yields. However, breeders discovered that they could crossbreed high-quality indica and sativa strains with ruderalis to make them autoflowering. This has revolutionised cannabis cultivation by fusing the best traits of all the cannabis subspecies.
Who Uses Automatic Cannabis Strains, and Why?
- Growers: Growers like autoflowers because they are convenient and easy, producing a fast harvest with decent yields. With their compact size, they are among the best plants for growing in small spaces—great for micro-grows or putting a plant or two on a balcony. They also make good strains to grow outdoors as they are resilient and robust. Plus, their small size makes them a good choice for stealthy guerrilla grows.
- Smokers: Recreational users can enjoy autos just like feminized photoperiod cannabis. If you’re smoking for the high, which can be anything from relaxing to uplifting, fun, and giggly, you can find the right autoflower to suit your tastes! Some autoflowers are slightly lower in THC than the average strain, making them ideal for people who like a milder and more balanced effect when smoking cannabis.
Q: What is autoflowering cannabis?
A: Autoflowering cannabis is a type of cannabis plant that begins to flower automatically, without the need for a change in light cycle.
They have a shorter overall growth and flowering time making them ideal for outdoor cultivation in areas with shorter growing seasons.
What are autoflower seeds
Autoflowering cannabis seeds produce plants that flower on their own after 2–4 weeks of growth.
Growers don’t need to worry about switching the light schedule to initiate and maintain the flowering phase, like they would if growing feminized photoperiod cannabis.
Autoflowers also need much less time to grow.
Q: What are the advantages of growing autoflowering cannabis?
A: Autoflowering cannabis strains are popular among growers because they have a shorter overall growth and flowering time, making them ideal for outdoor cultivation in areas with shorter growing seasons.
They also tend to be smaller and more compact than traditional strains, making them suitable for indoor or limited space cultivation.
Q: How do I grow autoflowering cannabis?
A: Growing autoflowering cannabis is similar to growing traditional cannabis strains, with a few key differences. First, autoflowering strains do not require a specific light cycle to begin flowering.
Additionally, autoflowering strains typically have shorter overall growth and flowering times, so they may not need as much time to mature as traditional strains.
Other than that, the same general growing techniques (e.g. proper nutrition, watering, and temperature control) still apply.
Q: Can I use the same growing techniques for autoflowering cannabis as traditional cannabis strains?
A: While many of the same general growing techniques apply to both autoflowering and traditional cannabis strains, there are some differences that should be considered.
For example, autoflowering strains do not require a specific light cycle to begin flowering, and they may not need as much time to mature as traditional strains. It is important to do research and read the instructions on the seed package or from the breeder before starting the growing process.
Q: Are autoflowering cannabis strains as potent as traditional strains?
A: Autoflowering cannabis strains can be just as potent as traditional strains, depending on the specific genetics of the strain. Growers can also choose to breed autoflowering strains with high-THC traditional strains, so that they retain the potency of the traditional strains.
Q: Are autoflowering cannabis strains only suitable for outdoor cultivation?
A: While autoflowering cannabis strains are well-suited to outdoor cultivation in areas with shorter growing seasons, they can also be grown indoors or in limited space. Due to the shorter growth and flowering time, they are suitable for indoor growers with limited space.
Q: What is the benefit of Autoflowers?
A: The main benefit of autoflowering cannabis strains is that they require less time to grow and mature, making them ideal for outdoor growers who are limited by shorter growing seasons.
Autoflowers also typically require less light for optimal growth, making them more efficient for indoor growers. Additionally, autoflowering cannabis strains can be harvested multiple times throughout the year, allowing for multiple harvests in a single grow season.
Finally, autoflowers are usually more resistant to disease and pests, making them simpler to care for.
Q: What is the difference between Autoflower and feminized?
A: The main difference between autoflower and feminized cannabis seeds is that the autoflowering seeds can produce either male or female plant, while feminized seeds only produce female plants.
Autoflowering seeds also flower automatically, while feminized seeds require a change in light conditions from 18 hours of light to 12 hours of light in order to begin flowering.
Additionally, autoflowering seeds can take less time to flower than feminized seeds, and can be less potent than feminized seeds.
Q: Will Autoflowers get you high?
A: Yes, autoflower plants can produce high levels of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the feeling of being “high”.
However, the amount of THC produced by an autoflower plant can vary significantly depending on the strain and the growing conditions.
Generally, autoflowers grown in optimal conditions with high-THC strains can produce THC levels of 15-22%.
Are Autoflower plants good?
A: Autoflower plants have a lot of advantages, including a short life cycle and being well-suited for growing in small spaces. They can also produce high yields and have high levels of potency, making them a great choice for home growers.
Additionally, topping autoflower plants can provide even greater yields and more potent buds. So overall, autoflower plants can be an excellent choice for any grower.